Marcos Ambrose · Friday February 18, 2011
Last year was a very trying year for me. I made some big decisions halfway through to try and shake things up for 2011, and give myself the best chance to answer some questions for myself about what kind of driver I am. We went through a lot of troubles and turmoils after that, but we got through it all very well and here we are getting ready for a new season. We’ve had a great offseason preparing for this year. I’m working really well with my new team and I’m excited not just for this week but every week throughout the season. It’s a big year for me no doubt. I can feel the pressure of wanting to perform for not just myself, but the King, the King’s fans, the team, and the employees of Stanley and DEWALT and everyone else who is supporting us. It’s definitely a make or break year for me to really present myself as a top 10 Cup driver and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
I see the King a lot. That’s one of the biggest surprises that I’ve had that a man of his stature and his experience is so hands on in our race team. It’s very much appreciated not just from myself but from all the team members. He’s a winner, the winningest driver in NASCAR history. He’s a champion and he’s got certain goals that as a team can only be beneficial to us.
As for Daytona this week, I’m behind on the two car draft because I just haven’t had a chance to practice it. I’m looking forward to Speedweeks here to get myself comfortable in that environment. NASCAR has been gracious on the rule changes, trying to make sure the whole race is not run that way. They’ve changed the grill opening and the way we cool the engines and oil down to try to stop the two car draft running for too long, but it’s going to be won that way, no doubt about it. Now that it’s out of the bottle you’re not going to be able to put it back in.
I feel like everybody here is talking about who do you want to partner up with, where do you want to be with four laps to go to put yourself in the best position to win the race. It’s going to be about two car drafts. I’m really conscious of it and we’re going to learn it this week hopefully. I didn’t have a chance to do the Shootout. We came down here and tested in the preseason, but we didn’t do any drafting at all, so I feel like I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. But there’s plenty of time during Speedweeks to get yourself ready.
We didn’t go to Australia during the offseason this year but stayed here in the States. It was good. It was a change for sure. We’ve got the kids growing up a little bit, and obviously this year I had the team change which was very hectic, so I felt committed to staying in the U.S. I think it was the right choice to make. Not seeing friends and family over that Thanksgiving/Christmas period was difficult, but we still did well.
We went out to Colorado for a couple of weeks with the kids and went skiing for the first time. I think that was a good experience for us all as a family. We used the time back in Charlotte to really hang out and reconnect. It’s hard through the racing season when you’re away for three or four or sometimes more days at a stretch and sometimes I feel like I’m not being the best dad I can, so I really used that time to make sure the kids knew who I was and who was boss of the house!
We also got the gold boat working pretty good so that’s exciting. We’re finally on some good gold locations. I feel like that’s been a quest in itself. We managed to run that boat and build it in the course of a year, probably about ten months now. We’ve gone from an idea to actually having it working and finding good gold in rivers here in the Carolinas. I’m excited about that and looking forward to getting that boat working during the summer. Whether it’s me or my friends that run it, hopefully we’ll get that thing going.
The last time I did a diary it was taking on water, and it did take on water for quite a while. The process of actually getting gold was not working as well as I wanted, so we’ve been continually developing it and changing it and working on it. For me that’s the heart of it, the quest to try and get the gold. It’s been a good project.
This year I think I’ll slow down a little bit. I want to really continue the gold story. I’ve got an excavator in mind. I wouldn’t mind doing some digging so we might go from the gold boat in the creek to up in the hills. Maybe we’ll get some dynamite out and see what we can do with that!
It’s absolutely vital to keep your gold locations secret. For one thing, they are often on private property and people that have gold don’t want to talk about it very much. If I let the cat out of the bag on one then I’m going to lose opportunities when other people come to me and want to explore their property. I’m all about having people e-mail me or giving me a call if they believe they’ve got gold on their land. I’ll go and check it out for them but at the same time you’ve got to give them that confidentiality because you don’t want someone else taking the gold that you’ve found. It’s also the right thing to do for the property owners.
I will be doing some road course races in the Nationwide Series again this year. Right now we’ve got Montreal locked in and I guarantee I will be turning up at Watkins Glen as well to try and win four in a row up there. We’ve got one locked away and we’re working on the second. I’m in good hands over here at RPM and we’re committed to the Nationwide race at Montreal. I’ve been tripping over myself up there and I’m desperate to get the win. I wouldn’t mind doing a few Nationwide races, but to be honest with you my focus is entirely on the Cup Series.
I’ve also got a new website coming online here in the next week or two. I’m finally getting on the whole social media bandwagon. I’ve been behind on Facebook and Twitter and all that stuff so this year I’m going to make a few mini videos of my season as I go from a personal level, and get the website and the social media up to speed. I’m finally getting on the new age technology. Twitter, Facebook, and the website are getting rolled into one. We’re doing videos of the gold boat, my racing and all of the stuff I’m doing around racing stuff. We’re going to try and be tech savvy for 2011!
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