FOURTH FASTEST FOR AMBROSE AT RICHMOND TEST Marcos Ambrose has left the two-day NASCAR Nationwide Series open test at Richmond International Raceway with a spring in his step after posting the fourth fastest time in the final session of testing...
FOURTH FASTEST FOR AMBROSE AT RICHMOND TEST
Marcos Ambrose has left the two-day NASCAR Nationwide Series open test at Richmond International Raceway with a spring in his step after posting the fourth fastest time in the final session of testing in Virginia today.
Ambrose set his quickest time over the two day test in the evening session on day two of the test in the #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion.
Ambrose was 29th and 21st fastest in the two sessions on Monday, followed by 13th and fourth fastest on Tuesday.
Ambrose and JTG Racing are putting major effort into their short track program, with this two-day test and the 0.75-mile Richmond track the first step in that development.
Gary Cogswell was serving as crew chief for Marcos Ambrose's #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion in Richmond, replacing Walter Giles.
Ambrose and the JTG Racing team will enjoy a rare weekend off this weekend, before the NASCAR Nationwide Series gets back underway on April 5 with the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Marcos Ambrose - #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion
"My situation this week has been a little unique," said Ambrose.
"We lost a crew chief on the weekend. He (Walter Giles) decided to part ways with us and that's really put us on the back foot.
"We've had a tough start to our year and today is really about Gary Cogswell, who is a crew chief who was working with me in the Truck Series in 2006.
"We're just trying to learn each other again and just get back to basics. So we are going through the motions here trying to get a handle on the new crew chief and our situation.
"What gives us a real advantage here is that it's a NASCAR-affiliated test, so we're testing with other teams and we have a real reference for how we are going compared to the other teams. When you go private testing you just don't have that change.
"Was the track in good condition that day? Is the weather helping you? Are the tyres you've got the same as everyone else's? All those kind of things, we know, are out of the equation.
"Secondly, the thing that really helps us here is that we are allowed to run computer systems on the car to really see what the suspension is doing and what the driver is doing and get that feedback, which you don't normally get when you go to a normal race weekend.
"NASCAR is great in the sense that they make the cars so restrictive on what you can see and do that the drivers make a real difference. That's what makes the sport so great.
"But when you come here to test, you're able to run those computer systems and really get a better feel for what the car is really doing.
"Right now we are working hard on our short track program. It's an area that we feel, as a team, we're a little weak on and we are trying to improve. So this test is critical for us to get that information so we can go over it in the next couple of weeks and really come up with some good decisions.
"I really like Richmond. It's a wonderful little track. It's got good banking and it's a three quarter mile, and not many of our tracks are this size anymore.
"So it is a great place to race because you can run two or three wide here, the speeds are up so there is a little bit of downforce in play. The track really comes and goes during the night so the night race here is a lot of fun and the event is spectacular.
"I remember watching the Busch Series races and this race was always a lot of fun. The Richmond race was one that I always woke up at 3:00am on a Sunday morning to watch because I knew it was going to be exciting.
"It's a great place and a really racey surface. A lot of these places we go to know, the grip level of the surface is so high that NASCAR is cautious on the tyres. And the aerodynamic downforce is so important that the cars spread out. That's not going to happen here at Richmond.
"We've got a tire that we're still learning, but it's going to be a racey tire for us. Downforce doesn't play as big a part and there is still going to be two and three wide racing and everyone is going to be bunched up, so it's going to be a lot of fun when we race here in May."