Meijer 300, Kentucky Speedway, Kentucky
13 June 2007
Marcos Ambrose returns to one of the most significant venues in his motorsport career when he races in the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky this weekend.
Kentucky was the site of Ambrose’s first test with the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team back in September 2005, the start of a relationship that has blossomed over the past two years.
Ambrose won his first NASCAR pole position at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway on July 8 last year in only his tenth race in NASCAR in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
This weekend Ambrose makes his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Kentucky in the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion, sitting just five points outside of the top 10 in the NASCAR Busch Series standings and second in Raybestos Rookie of the Year points behind David Ragan.
After only 37 NASCAR starts Ambrose has come a long way since that initial test at Kentucky Speedway. As well as challenging for this year’s rookie title, Ambrose is the third highest driver in this year’s NASCAR Busch Series standings to not race full-time in the top-flight NASCAR Nextel Cup and the best placed driver in the Busch Series points to have never made a Cup start.
Ambrose has enjoyed success on 1.5-mile, ‘intermediate-style’ speedways so far in his short NASCAR career with third place finishes at Kansas and Nashville in last year’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as well as a top ten finish in the NASCAR Busch Series this year at Las Vegas.
Kentucky Speedway is also renowned for its upset victories and producing first time winners. Last year’s NASCAR Busch Series race produced one of the biggest upsets in series history when David Gilliland won his first NASCAR event, leading to him sign with Nextel Cup team Robert Yates Racing soon after. Bobby Hamilton Jr also captured his first win at the venue, that race time still standing as the race record for Kentucky.
Ambrose will be striving to join that list of first time winners at Kentucky this weekend, but while a win is the ultimate goal, a solid finish and vaulting back into the NASCAR Busch Series top 10 remains a priority.
Marcos Ambrose – #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion
“The pole at Kentucky was a real highlight last season and one of the moments that really helped build my confidence in terms of running in NASCAR,” said Ambrose.
“Kentucky is a special place for me. It’s the track I had my first test with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and from that point on the team and I have really grown together and achieved some wonderful things.
“Kentucky is one of the faster 1.5-mile ovals in the series and it’s these style of tracks where we have ran well in both the truck last year and the Busch car this season.
“The team and I are really working well together and we can carry that little bit of extra confidence heading into a place like Kentucky where we have run well in the past.
“It always gives you a better comfort zone when you go to a track where you’ve had success. You have a good understanding what the car needs and you have a good understanding what the track has to offer.
“We’ve had good race cars every week lately. That only adds to our confidence as a race team. We’re still young as a group and we’re still learning, but we’re starting to get a lot of things figured out.”
Greg Conner – Crew Chief, #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion
“Marcos really likes the faster intermediate tracks and I know he can draw on his experiences from last year,” said Conner.
“He goes into every race like a sponge, soaking up as much information as he can. That really accelerates his learning curve.”