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Ambrose still looking for elusive first oval win

After the season ended he announced he was heading off to try his hand in the NASCAR Truck series in 2006 with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, where he was inevitably seen as a "road specialist" thanks to his touring and sportscar experience in Australia, a label he's never been able to shake off since. He stayed with the team when he moved up to the Nationwide Series the following year and ended up finishing the championship in eighth place, the highest of anyone not also doing double-duty competing in the senior NASCAR series.

He reinforced his "road specialist" credentials with his first series win in 2008 coming at Watkins Glen before moving to the Sprint Cup series in 2009, picking up four top-five finishes and finishing 18th in the points. Unfortunately 2010 was beset with mechanical failures, and at the end of the year Ambrose signed to move to Richard Petty Motorsports for the next season.

Richard Petty Motorsports' well-publicised financial problems and break-up with co-owner George Gillett over the winter break left Ambrose on tenterhooks as to whether he would have a seat after all, or even whether the team itself would survive: for the first time in his US career, Ambrose felt unable to take the family back home in Tasmania for their traditional Christmas with a barbie on the beach. "This year I'm not going back to Australia," said Ambrose toward the end of 2010. "It's all getting pretty hot and heavy [with RPM], so I've got to stay here and really get ready for 2011.

"We're looking forward to it," he said at the time, showing that typical Aussie tendency of looking on the bright side even in high adversity. "We'll have a white Christmas instead of a hot one. We're getting more assimilated with the USA every year and we're looking forward to staying around."

Even so, Ambrose needed to start looking around for options in case his NASCAR career suddenly blew up, and at one point was considering returning home to Australian motorsports. "I spoke to a few people down there, and all have been well received," he said. "But my heart is in NASCAR to be honest with you. I've got unfinished business at this level of racing. I feel like I've become part of the sport but I haven't become a contender on a weekly basis, and I feel like I'm really - if I left now, I would feel like I've got unfinished business.

"I would like to stay here in America if I could ... I would love to stay in NASCAR and finish off what I started."

Fortunately RPM pulled out of its nose dive when Richard Petty took back control of the team bearing his name, and Ambrose not only kept his seat but found himself with a leaner, meaner, more driven team backing him.

"It was one of those moments I reflect on and think about a lot, because it went through my head a lot," said Ambrose of those dark days at the end of 2010. "I was thinking, 'Is this it? Is this as far as I go? Is this the end of the road?'

"But that moment passed very quickly because Richard Petty took the leadership to drive this company, to save it, to restructure it, to rebuild it to what it is today.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders," he continued. "I feel the pressure of wanting to perform for Richard and the whole RPM team and everyone else who stands behind this company, but now it's a good pressure. It's been an incredible story and Richard is an amazing person. I don't think anyone else could have saved this company."

Now the company is on a more secure footing off-track, Ambrose can focus on working with them to improve their on-track fortunes too. "Our team is learning me, I'm learning them," he said. "I'm learning how these cars work."




Related Pictures

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Marcos Ambrose in the RPM garage - 2011 Las Vegas - 3 May 2011 [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Marcos Ambrose in the RPM garage - 2011 Daytona - 22 January 2011 [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Marcos Ambrose, Richard Petty Motorsports - 2011 Season [Picture credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in fifth place on Sunday, July 19, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, affixes the winner`s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on July 11, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following in second place is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Motojunky..

May 20, 2011 11:53 PM

Thanks CRASH for this career update on Marcos. I watch as many races as I am able to, but am sad to say he is not part of the NASCAR family yet, and may never be. I make this summary because every time I watch a race the commentry team, they do the minimal amount of coverage on Ambrose. Even when running in the top 10 you would hardly know he was there if you relied on the commentators. Keep chipping away though, cause he has the talent. .



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