AMBROSE TO START 24TH IN TEXAS AFTER BUSY WEEK After a busy week Marcos Ambrose will enjoy a day off tomorrow before starting the O'Reilly 300 from 24th position at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas after a rain-effected day at the...
AMBROSE TO START 24TH IN TEXAS AFTER BUSY WEEK
After a busy week Marcos Ambrose will enjoy a day off tomorrow before starting the O'Reilly 300 from 24th position at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas after a rain-effected day at the venue today.
NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at the fast 1.5-mile oval was rained out on Thursday, with the field for this weekend's race set by the current Owner's points standings.
In the sole practice session held today Ambrose was an encouraging 17th fastest in the #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion.
This weekend's unique schedule saw practice and qualifying held one day earlier than usual, giving NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers and teams a day off tomorrow before the 200-lap race on Saturday (Sunday morning Australian time).
On Wednesday Ambrose and his JTG Racing team-mate Kelly Bires took the opportunity to conduct a road course test at Virginia International Raceway in their Ford Fusions before jetting to Fort Worth for this weekend's O'Reilly 300.
The test went well for the Australian, with Ambrose working on car developments such as brakes and suspension in preparation for the Corono Mexico 200 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City on April 20.
This week has also been important for Ambrose as he and new crew chief Gary Gogswell work hard at re-establishing their working relationship. The experienced Cogswell, who was Ambrose's crew chief for much of his rookie NASCAR season in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has taken over as crew chief of Ambrose's #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion after the departure of Walter Giles two weeks ago.
While Ambrose and his JTG Racing crew will be getting some much needed rest tomorrow, be sure to CLICK HERE to read NASCAR Scene Associate Editor Lee Montgomery's excellent feature story on Ambrose.
Texas Preview Q&A with Marcos Ambrose - #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion
Q: WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE OFF WEEK?
MA:"I spent time with the family. I waved goodbye to my father-in-law who has been with us for a while. I primarily spent most of the off week with my family."
Q: DOES THE WEEK BREAK MAKE THESE NEXT SIX RACES SEEM LIKE AN ACT TWO TO THE SEASON?
MA: "Yeah, I guess so. One week off doesn't make a summer, so I guess it's a chance for us to get caught up here this week. In another six weeks there is another off weekend, with the All-Star Charlotte weekend, which is pretty much a race at home that we all go to watch anyways. If we're not racing it, we're going to go and watch it. Our season is in full swing right now. I feel like the first few races, with the rain and everything like that, it was hard to get any kind of rhythm. I think now we're going to get in the next half of the season and get into it."
Q: HOW DO YOU FIND RACING AT TEXAS?
MA: "Texas is a fast track and the banking is really good. I feel like I'm ready for it. It's one of the faster tracks you go to. It's a great racy track where the second groove comes in pretty well. I think it's going to be excellent. I'm looking forward to it."
Q: IN THE PAST, YOU'VE MENTIONED THAT YOU PREFER THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS.
MA: "Yeah, that's right but we've got a new crew chief now, so that changes everything. We've just really got to get to a race track and get working together. That's what this weekend is all about for us -- it's to get back to basics and get to know each other again. I've worked with Gary Cogswell in the truck series and I'm looking forward to working together again. I think once we get to know each other again, as far as race communication goes, I think we'll have a good future. But this weekend, for us, it's getting to know each other again."
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS WEEKEND?
MA: "We want to finish all the laps and try to get a good top-10 run, if we can. I feel like if we get all our ducks in a row, we can run in the top 10. I'm looking forward to turning our year around in Texas."
Q: YOU POSTED SOLID TIMES IN THE RICHMOND TEST. DOES ANY OF THAT TRANSLATE TO TEXAS?
MA: "Probably not, but I think it was more of a chance for Gary and me to get to know each other a little bit. Each driver is unique in what they're looking for in a car. And each series is unique too, so it's going to take Gary a little time to get his head around the Nationwide series and the way they set the cars up. And it's going to take me a little bit of time to convey to him, but I think we started well at the test there and at Richmond, although a lot of the good cars had already left. We have to be careful that we don't get carried away with our testing. I feel like we have plenty to improve on. I feel like Gary is going to be a good fit for us."
Q: YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAVEN'T FOUND YOUR RHYTHM THIS SEASON, BUT EACH WEEK YOU HAVE IMPROVED IN THE POINTS STANDINGS.
MA: "We had a rocky start to the season. We've got to work on solid finishes and results. We need to start getting top-10 runs and feeling like we deserve to be out there. I'm excited about turning our season around. I think this weekend will be the first step in that direction."