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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]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, talks to Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field onto pit road due to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, celebrates on pit road after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the crew of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet team celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(L-R) Team owner Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and crew chief Greg Ives celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(L-R) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and crew chief Greg Ives celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(L-R) Amy Reimann celebrates with Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, in victory lane after Earnhardt won the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 8, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via 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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