From all appearances over the last couple of weeks, it was starting to look certain that Marcos Ambrose would return to Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 9 Ford Fusion in 2015. However, a report surfaced on Thursday that Ambrose would be leaving NASCAR at the end of this season and returning to his native Australia.
According to the Brisbane Courier – Mail, Ambrose, a two time Supercars champion would drive for a team co-owned by legendary IndyCar and NASCAR championship winning owner Roger Penske.
The paper also stated that Penske could reach a deal by the end of this month to form the team with longtime Australian owner Dick Johnson. Although Johnson remained mum on the details, his remarks in an interview left a strong impression a deal is close to being complete.
“I really want to cement the future, with where DJR (Dick Johnson Racing) is headed,” Johnson said. “It has been embarrassing for the team to be in the position we’ve been in the past few years. This is an opportunity to be extremely competitive again.”
Ambrose has found the transition to NASCAR’s top series difficult, posting only two career wins, both of which came on the road course at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012.
Another telling sign a deal is perhaps imminent is the fact that Ambrose and Richard Petty Motorsports have not announced or discussed a contract extension up to this point.
Penske has already been busy in Australia, reportedly opening several new auto dealerships and a truck manufacturer. Provided that Penske does indeed go Supercar Racing in 2015, it appears that Ford, Mercedes, or Porsche would be the likely manufacturer. As for Ambrose’s current ride at Richard Petty Motorsports, it is unknown and nothing has been speculated as to who would take over behind the wheel.