Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose will chase Ford's first V8 Supercar title since 1997 - and its fourth major motor sports title of the year - with the full support of the Blue Oval's racing champions from around the world.

2003 has been a good year for Ford in motorsport, particularly in North America. All three of Ford's championship titles this year have brought first-time winners, with Matt Kenseth taking the NASCAR crown, Paul Tracy securing the CART World Series on the streets of Australia's Gold Coast and Tony Pedregon scoring the Top Fuel
Funny Car title.

Kenseth's win in NASCAR was not only his first championship, it was also the first title for famed team owner Jack Roush, who fields five Fords in the series. The DeWalt-backed driver won the Winston Cup with just the one win from 36 starts, but it was his incredible consistency of eleven top-five and 25 top-ten finishes that earned him the title.

Ambrose met Kenseth and the Roush crew in August when he visited the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Tennessee. That night Kenseth finished fourth with team-mate Kurt
Busch winning.

This week Kenseth sent his best wishes to Ambrose and the Stone Brothers Racing team ahead of the VIP Pet Foods Main Event at Sydney's Eastern Creek this weekend.

"I'd like to extend good luck wishes to Marcos Ambrose and Stone Brothers Racing as they fight to win the V8 Supercar Title," Kenseth said, "From what I hear, he's put together a very consistent season much like the DeWalt team did in NASCAR. Best wishes, Marcos - let's bring Ford Racing another championship before the
year is over!"

Tracy took seven wins on his way to his first CART title in 13 years of competition and provided Australian fans with a great moment when he took the trophy on the streets of the Gold Coast. A long time fan of the V8 Supercars, which support the Surfer's Paradise CART event, Tracy is a keen observer of the series and has formed close relationships with a number of drivers and team members.

"I always make sure I watch the guys on the Gold Coast and have a lot of respect for Marcos and his team," Tracy said, "Championships are never a given - I should know! The Stone brothers have done a great job and I know that they are determined to get the job done this weekend in Sydney.

"The Ford champions group of 2003 has room for one more member and I'd be delighted to see Marcos join Matt, Tony and I."

Pedregon had to beat some of the fastest teams and drivers racing anywhere to win his first Top Fuel Funny Car championship. Amongst the toughest was team
boss - and eleven-time champion - John Force.

One of the most colourful characters in any sport, Force has a strong following in Australia after racing here in the 1970s, and sent his support to Ambrose as well as his many Australian fans.

"It's been a great year for Ford Racing and we're pushing for Marcos to win the V8 Supercar title and keep the streak going," Force said, "Bottom line, I know we've got a lot of Ford fans down under and I hope they all come out for the last race and give Stone Brothers Racing all their support.

"We were fortunate enough to win the Funny Car championship for Ford for the seventh straight year here in the states and we also had a Ford champion in NASCAR,
so I guess that means we're going for a worldwide sweep."

The final word from the USA came from the director of Ford Racing Technology, Dan Davis, who oversees all of Ford Racing's programmes in the USA and even found
time to come to Bathurst to watch this year's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 along with the great grandson of Henry Ford, Edsel Ford II.

"A championship by Ford in the V8 Supercar series would be great, and just add to a series of major racing championships by Ford in this Centennial year," he said, "We've been fortunate to have won the NASCAR Winston Cup title with Matt Kenseth, the NHRA Funny Car title with Tony Pedregon, and the CART Champ Car World Series title with Paul Tracy. All three had great seasons and their racing success did a lot to help us 'polish the oval' here in North America.

"I wish Marcos and Stone Brothers Racing all the best as they try and wrap up their championship. Like Jack Roush and Roush Racing, they have been Ford's strongest team for a number of years, and it would be great to see them win their first championship like Roush did this year. I had the chance to visit with the team and see Bathurst, so I know personally how motivated this team is, and the effort they are putting forth.

"You know, we love the Ford versus GM battle here in North America as much as anyone, and all of us at Ford Racing Technology are pushing for our colleagues
to bring home this title."

Ambrose holds a 24-point lead over closest rival Greg Murphy heading into the two-race Eastern Creek showdown.

 

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