The Frontstretch: Marcos Ambrose Driver Diary: What Does A Race Car Driver Do With A Weekend Off? by Marcos Ambrose -- Thursday July 21, 2011

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We had high expectations going to Sonoma and we did a lot of work on the car to be as ready as we could be. With a new team it’s always difficult to get road racing just because you don’t have the history. You don’t have the setups. We tested a lot. We felt like we were as prepared as we could be going there. What threw us for a loop there was that the tire that Goodyear brought was very different from what we expected and it just took us a long time to feel comfortable with the tire and we never really did. We underperformed to our own expectations there. I’m happy to get a top 5 but it was a struggle all day to really ride at the front. We were a top 5 car but it was a lot of hard work to stay there. It was a solid weekend for us but not the weekend we were looking for. We had a million dollars to race for for the kids who are sick, we had a big charity day with the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and I feel like we let an opportunity slip. That being said I feel like we did the best with what we could do with the tools we had.

Daytona was crazy because the draft was on again. We teamed up with AJ and we worked together as a team for RPM and it was going pretty well but we lost the draft and had a bit of trouble. Then AJ ran out of fuel on pit lane and we got caught out there, we went a lap down so I came back to him to help and then we were pushing and actually both of us got back on the lead lap to the end. I was looking good for a top 10 finish and got wiped out by the late race caution. We finished 17th. Disappointing but I did help AJ, pushed him up into the top 10 which was good, but we missed an opportunity to do better.

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Kentucky was great to go to, sellout crowd. They had some traffic issues which were unfortunate in the end but all things considered, first race there, I thought it was a great venue. It was a difficult race for teams because the track is very bumpy and difficult to get a handle on. We were a top 15 car, probably slightly better than that, we were looking good for a tenth to fifteenth place finish if we stayed out of trouble and we got trapped on pit lane when a caution came out. We went a lap down, had to get the lucky dog to get it back and put ourselves back in position, but we just got out of sequence on the pit stop cycle and had to get some gas late and that hurt us.

New Hampshire was a good weekend for us. We got another top 10 which we’re proud of. We had a chance to win. We had a competitive car. It’s really hard to pass and track position is everything and we led some laps around lap 200 and put ourselves in great position. We had enough fuel to make it to the end and on the final stop we had two loose wheels. We got lucky with the caution. We were already coming in and put fresh wheels on and tightened them up but unfortunately we lost all our track position so I had to pass 22 cars at the end of the race to get back up to ninth. A good recovery but I felt like again we missed an opportunity to really stand up and contend for the win.

Indy is next and it’s obviously one of those crown jewel races of the year. The teams all put a lot of effort into that race. We really try to make the car as aero balanced as we can get it before it leaves the shop. A lot of work goes into that. We race for a lot of money of course, it’s a big purse. Everyone looks forward to going there. It’s a unique old track. It’s got short corners, they’re only nine degree corners, and very high speed and very flat. It’s a real challenge to teams but I think I’ve got a chance to run well. I don’t know quite what to expect because I haven’t driven a track like that with this team yet. We’ve got the bricks to race for. To win at the Brickyard would be a huge achievement in your career, probably one of the biggest races you can get.

We’re off this weekend but I’m racing. My life is built around racing, that’s what I do. We’re going to Nova Scotia and I’m going to do the IWK 250 super late model race up at a track called Riverside International Speedway.

My former series from Australia, the V8 Supercar Series, will be visiting America starting in 2013 as the companion event to the Formula 1 race at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas. I don’t think I’ll be revisiting my old series though. NASCAR racing normally goes over the top of anything else I do. With the lack of off weeks in NASCAR I think it would be very difficult. We’ll have to see their calendar, you never say never, but I think it’s going to be fun to see them come to the U.S. but I don’t think I’ll be part of it. We’ll have to wait and see.

George Miedecke, our late model driver, is doing well. He’s had pole positions but he hasn’t won a race yet though. I’m starting to think I’ll have to get the big bat out and start beating him over the head!

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