AMBROSE LOOKS TO STEP IT UP IN SOPHOMORE YEAR IN NATIONWIDE SERIES Marcos Ambrose is clear in his intentions entering his second year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series heading into the season opening Camping World 300 at Daytona International ...
AMBROSE LOOKS TO STEP IT UP IN SOPHOMORE YEAR IN NATIONWIDE SERIES
Marcos Ambrose is clear in his intentions entering his second year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series heading into the season opening Camping World 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida this weekend.
Ambrose, who is embarking on his third year in NASCAR, want to build on the consistency and learning experience of the past two years to become a front-runner and race winner in this year's second-tier NASCAR series.
The Australian will again pilot the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion for JTG Racing but enters 2008 with new crew chief Walter Giles guiding the team's progress, backed up by new engineers Ken Douglas and Paul Forgie.
Ambrose finished eighth in his rookie season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last season, a performance that saw him place second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.
This season Ambrose has removed his rookie stripes from his rear bumper for the first time in his NASCAR career, and even more significantly, has raised his expectations for the season ahead, sighting a more aggressive approach and a clear goal of race wins as well as consistent top 10 finishes.
Marcos Ambrose -- #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion
"I just can't wait to get started," said Ambrose.
"Our team has got so much to prove this year. I want to demonstrate and show that I belong in this sport and that means winning races and being a contender week-in and week-out.
"We've had a year where we were OK. We finished OK in points and we had all of that rookie stuff to lean on as an excuse, well now it's time to go.
"I feel like I'm ready. I feel like the team is ready. We've just got to get out there and get started. This last week has been difficult because you're ready to go, but there's nothing happening and there's nothing to talk about. You want to stop talking and start racing."
Q: ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE INCREASED WORKLOAD IN NATIONWIDE AND CUP?
MA: "Yeah, the more the better. The more races I can do, the better I'm going to be and that's why I came to America. I've come here to race in NASCAR and if I can race 100 times a year, that's what I would do.
"Right now we've got about 12 races on the Cup schedule and a full Nationwide schedule. If we can push that out to even more races, I'll take it.
"I'll take all the races I can get because I know that's what you need to do to be successful in this sport. You have to do a lot of racing. You have to be very comfortable in the machinery at high speeds and the only way to do that is by experience."
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY?
MA: "My first experience was to drive in the venue and look at it and it's a daunting place. It's a fabulous race track. It's got so much history here and it really is quite an intimidating track to drive on for the first time.
"The track is actually a lot more slippery and tighter and bumpier than I ever predicted. It really is a handful just to hold onto it, but I think this race track is probably my favourite."
Q: WHILE GROWING UP IN AUSTRALIA DID YOU HEAR ABOUT DAYTONA AND WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT?
MA: "Any race fan knows about the 500. They know about Daytona and they know that it's a seriously fast and exciting racing. I'm a little bit of a history buff, so I've always looked back at old magazines.
"My dad had all the old racing magazines from the sixties and seventies and back then there were crowds of 100,000 here watching these cars go around, so I knew all about the sport and that's why I eventually came. I knew about it probably more than most and when I get here it's pretty special."
Q: WAS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED THE FIRST TIME YOU CAME HERE IN PERSON?
MA: "You build these things up in your head and I expected it to be a special place and it is. To race on it, I think, is even more special. It's not just about the venue, it's about the history and the feel of the place and to actually know that you've driven on such a famous race track."
-credit: team australia