Ambrose Planning For Cup

Australian motor racing ace Marcos Ambrose will compete at the highest level of US motorsport next year when he competes in up to 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events under the Team Australia and Aussie Vineyards banner.

Program creator and Australian businessman Craig Gore has finalized a deal with Wood Brothers-JTG Racing which will see Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards branding on the back quarter panel of Ambrose’s No. 59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion for all 35 rounds of next year’s NASCAR Busch Series.

Part of the agreement will also see a full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in a minimum of two, and up to 10, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events.

Ambrose will campaign the full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in NEXTEL Cup road course events at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California on June 24 and at Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York State on August 12.

The announcement was made in Australia today during Ambrose’s first trip home since January to visit family and friends.

An extension of the two-race NEXTEL Cup program will be evaluated by Gore and Wood Brothers-JTG Racing and will be influenced by results and further involvement from Australian companies looking to increase their US and global branding.

Marketing plans have already been put in place which will see Aussie Vineyards wine packaged with bags of Kingsford Charcoal in outlets across the US.

As a bonus for Australian fans, all of Ambrose’s NASCAR Busch and his NEXTEL Cup drives are set be shown in Australia next season.

“The confirmation of at least two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races for me in 2007 is fantastic news,” said Ambrose.

“It is great that Craig (Gore) and his Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards program will not only be continuing with me as secondary sponsors on the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford next season, but that we will be flying the Team Australia colours in a minimum of two NEXTEL Cup events.

“Our learning curve continues to be a steep one in the US and I am certainly looking forward to working with the team at Wood Brothers-JTG Racing and Craig Gore as we take the next step forward in my NASCAR career.

“There is no doubt that NASCAR has become the pinnacle of world motorsport and I am enjoying the journey.”

Ambrose joined the NASCAR ranks this season after a successful V8 Supercar career in Australia where he won two championships for Ford.

He had not driven an oval race before his NASCAR Craftsman Truck debut at Martinsville in April, but he finished the season with two third-place finishes (Kansas and Nashville) and a pole (Kentucky) in his Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry.

Team Australia concept creator and Aussie Vineyards Managing Director Craig Gore said that the continued NASCAR relationships made sense because the sport is linked to one of the largest growing consumer wine markets in the world.

“The NASCAR program certainly worked for us this year and we look forward to cementing ourselves in the US market place with our continued association with Marcos and his #59 Kingsford Charcoal entry,” said Gore.

“Even more exciting for us is Marcos making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut in a car that will have full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards naming rights sponsorship.

“The Team Australia program has experienced some proud moments in its short two-year history, but when Marcos rolls out in the Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in NASCAR’s Major League I think that will be our greatest achievement to date.

“NASCAR is the greatest sporting spectacle on earth and we hope to be a part of it with Marcos and Wood Brothers-JTG Racing for many years to come.”

Wood Brothers/JTG Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said that the Team Australia concept had created an enormous amount of interest, in and out of NASCAR circles in the US.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Craig Gore and the Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards program as ground continues to be made in the US market,” said Geschickter.

“Craig (Gore) and his team have really shown what can be achieved in this sport over the last 12 months and I am sure Team Australia, Aussie Vineyards and their partners will enjoy increased success as the Busch and NEXTEL Cup programs roll out in 2007.

“It was great that we could hook up to similar products like wine and barbeque charcoal both on and off the track and we hope we can provide many similar opportunities as more Australian companies join the Team Australia program.

“I think there are a lot of people looking forward to seeing Marcos make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup road course debut. We all pretty well know what he achieved on similar tracks in V8 Supercar back in Australia."

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