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This Week in Ford Racing: Marcos Ambrose

Marcos Ambrose
Marcos Ambrose
August 5, 2008 - Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 59 Kingsford Ford Fusion and the No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion, will compete in both NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this weekend at Watkins Glen. The Australian talks about his racing technique through the 11-turn road course. This weekend marks Ambroseís 59th Nationwide start and third Cup start.

MARCOS AMBROSE Ė No. 59 Kingsford Ford Fusion and No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion Ė TWO ROAD RACES BACK-TO-BACK; IS THIS YOUR COMFORTABLE PART OF THE SEASON? ďThese two races here feel like Iím on a Mediterranean holiday. Because the stress and strains of an oval track for me where I feel like I havenít quite mastered the trade, where here [on a road course] I feel comfortable in my surroundings. I know that if I do my job as I should that we should have a decent day.Ē

IT FEELS LIKE A HOLIDAY, BUT YOUíRE RACING IN BOTH THE NATIONWIDE AND CUP RACES. ďWell, thatís right but I know road racing and I have a confidence in myself that I should do okay if I could just do what I do well. Itís nice to have that feeling of security going into qualifying. Itís a pressure deal, you only get one lap in the Cup deal, but itís as easy as itís going to get when youíre trying to do it they way weíre doing it. It feels good. I enjoy it for the experience. I like Watkins Glen. Itís a good, fun place to be. Hopefully, the weekend goes well.Ē

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WATKINS GLEN? ďItís just a flowing track. Itís got a lot of history to it. Itís known as one of Americaís finest race tracks, as far as road racing goes. Itís got a lot of character. The corners have good banking on most of them. The track is in a beautiful location in America. Itís just a nice place to be. The fans, by the looks of it, they have a history of going there. They really know what theyíre doing when the get there and who theyíre following. Theyíre fairly well-educated fans, too. Watkins Glen is a unique race track and the people go there to watch road racing which is nice too.Ē

ARE ROAD COURSES MORE STRATEGY RACES OR SPEED RACES? WILL THE FASTEST DRIVER WIN OR THE BEST HANDLING DRIVER? ďAt Watkins Glen, youíve got to have a really good car to make it work. I feel like car handling plays more a part of Watkins Glen than it does at Canada or Mexico just because itís a handling-style race track. So, brakes arenít an issue there at Watkins Glen. Itís not as technical. It just really comes down to really being able to run the high-speed corners without getting yourself in trouble and carrying momentum. Itís a handling race track. I think the fastest car will probably win the race, where as in Canada and Mexico, sometimes itís not the case. Strategy comes more into play at those other two venues.Ē

CAN YOU BE TOO LOOSE ON A ROAD COURSE? ďOh, yeah, youíre loose all the time. Youíve got to set them up loose to be able to run. Itís no different from oval racing to road-course racing. Youíve got to let the car do the work for you. If youíre putting a steering wheel into it, itís not as fast. Itís easy to make the car too loose, for sure.Ē

COMPARED TO BEING TIGHT? ďEach corner is unique and different. Youíve just got to get a balance out of the whole lap. Some corners youíre going to be tight even when you complain about being loose, there are some corners that youíre still not going to have enough front grip on. Itís a compromise on how you want it. Itís a very personal thing setting up a road course. What some drivers call loose, someone else might call balanced. Itís different driving style and how you want go about it.Ē

DO YOU DRIFT ON A ROAD COURSE? ďYeah, I try to drift the car as much as I can. I generally set the car up to be a little tighter than most and a little stiffer than most so I can have the confidence to drift in the corner well. I try to get a nice forward slide going if I can. I feel like thatís the best way I get around a road course.Ē

CAN YOU DRAFT IN A ROAD COURSE? ďNo, it plays no part, really. What you gain in draft, you loose by being conservative on the brakes trying to stay off of them. Itís not going to come into play.Ē

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