Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 DEWALT Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports, may not be in the Chase for the Cup championship but he still has an agenda for Loudon, the rest of the season and for next year. And he even has time to explain his Australian word of the week, spewing.
[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”228″][/media-credit]As far as the ‘Magic Mile’, Ambrose has made five career Cup Series starts at the ‘Magic Mile’. His best finish, ninth, came in last year’s spring race.
“No doubt it’s going to be challenging,” Ambrose said of this weekend’s race. “Qualifying becomes very important. It sets the grid.”
“You have to practice fast but you also have to go out in qualifying trim,” Ambrose continued. “So you really have to juggle and take your chances on your set ups.”
Ambrose also acknowledged that track position reigns, especially for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Passing is another challenge at the track, as, according to Ambrose, each spot requires the perfect set up prior to the pass.
“If you’ve got a fast car, you can pass,” Ambrose said. “But it just takes a little longer here.”
“If you’ve got a fast car, you have to set up each pass individually and pick them up one by one, which takes time.”
Along with every other driver in the race, Ambrose is also consumed with the fuel mileage question. But for the Aussie, fuel mileage racing is just the price of doing business.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating,” Ambrose said. “It’s just part of the business.”
“It’s another facet to racing that is unusual,” Ambrose continued. “It’s hard to save fuel because you don’t know. There’s no fuel gauge in the car.”
“So, it’s a challenging thing,” Ambrose continued. “Some guys are good at it and some aren’t. I like it when races come down to different strategies.”
Does Ambrose’s vast experience in other racing series help with saving fuel? Not necessarily as far as Ambrose is concerned.
“No, generally speaking if the motor’s shut off or the gas pedal is off, you’re going to save fuel,” Ambrose said. “You’ve got to work out the best way to do it.”
“It’s definitely an art,” Ambrose continued. “It’s a skill you acquire over time.”
“The penalty for making a mistake is huge,” Ambrose said. “If you come up short, you can lose ten, twenty spots very quickly.”
In addition to having a good run at Loudon this weekend, Ambrose has an agenda for the remainder of the 2011 race season, especially since he is not a Chase participant.
“It’s pretty simple,” Ambrose said. “We’re just going to go and try and win races.”
“We’re building momentum for next year,” Ambrose continued. “We want to be the best.”
“We’ve run well this year but we want to be better,” Ambrose said. “It’s going to take some serious effort to win a race.”
“If you can do that in one of those big ten races, you know you’re ready for next year.”
While Ambrose may be planning for the next season, he still has some fond, as well as not so fond, memories for the 2011 season. One of his best memories is his win, as well as how he started off this year.
“It was just such a sense of relief,” Ambrose said. “There are not many moments in your life when you can pick a moment in time where you say, ‘You know what, it all worked out.’
“The sacrifices to come here and the quest to win at the Cup level was a massive challenge,” Ambrose continued. “On that day, at that time, we were the champion for the day and won the race. It means a lot.”
“Winning the race was awesome,” Ambrose said. “We came out of the gate really showing on the one and a half mile race tracks.”
“Charlotte and Texas stood out,” Ambrose continued. “At that point, there was a lot of concern about what kind of team we were going to be together.”
“The first good race for us was Las Vegas where we finished fourth,” Ambrose said. “And that was a good moment for us.”
In spite of the win and his good early start, Ambrose pronounced that he would still give his overall season to date a ‘B’ grade.
“Learning new people and a new team is tough,” Ambrose said. “I’d give it a B. We want to be A+ so we’ve got a ways to go.”
Ambrose is absolutely convinced, however, that the familiarity and lessons learned throughout this race season will serve him and his team well going forward.
“If I knew what I know now and I knew the people the way I do now and the systems and the stuff we got, we would have had a different year,” Ambrose said. “I think it’s continuity, experience and just familiarity.”
“You start to know your people,” Ambrose continued. “We’ve got a much deeper notebook than we did at the start of the year. We’ve got better set ups at all these tracks we’re starting to hit a second time. It makes a difference.”
According to Ambrose, the people with whom he surrounds himself are the most important factor in his racing career.
“Racing is all about the people,” Ambrose said. “At this level, we’ve all got good equipment. It’s about how you work with each other.”
“It’s the team,” Ambrose continued. “It makes all the difference in the world.”
“If you have a team that you can rely on that pays you back and you’ve got their back and if you’ve got the trust and respect of each other, it’s important.”
In addition to his racing family, the other most important people in Ambrose’s life are his family, including his wife and two children. And balancing his professional gig with his family time is one of Ambrose’s most important priorities.
“It’s a constant struggle,” Ambrose said. “I’ve got a great wife and two beautiful kids.”
“Racing is going to end one day but family should last forever,” Ambrose continued. “You’ve got to keep your priorities in life. And definitely my family is my number one priority.”
“But racing’s been good too,” Ambrose said. “The racing community and the racing family have been good to me too.”
With all that good will, from his own family as well as his racing family, hopefully Ambrose will not be using his Australian word of the week, spewing.
“You really don’t spew at somebody, you’re really spewing at some thing,” Ambrose explained. “If you’re annoyed by something and you want to throw up at it, it’s spewing.”
“I’m not spewing today, but I may be after qualifying.”