Racingone On One: Marcos Ambrose

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ORLANDO, Fla. - After a successful NASCAR Busch Series season behind the wheel of the No. 59 Kingsford Ford, Marcos Ambrose is ready to return in 2008 where he will be running full-time again in the Nationwide Series along with a part-time schedule in the Sprint Cup Series. In this interview with RacingOne, Ambrose discusses his past season, making the move to Cup, his native land of Australia and much, much more.

RacingOne: What races are you planning to run in Cup?

Ambrose: We have a rough schedule, the two road course races we're obviously going to try to do and then we're going to load up the oval races for the second half of the year. That gives the 21 team a chance to try to get back in owner's points if they can. It gives me more of a chance to get up to speed. Next year with the Busch program it's going to really come on and we want to win races and get a lot of confidence before we get to that Cup scene. So I think by stacking up the races for the second half of the year it's going to be great for me personally. I think it's a really smart way to approach it. We haven't locked down the individual races per say, although there's talk about doing the second race at California and doing Indianapolis. Right now it's a pretty liquid situation there's a lot of change going on at Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and I just look forward to coming back after the off season and seeing where it's all at.

RacingOne: Have you already been preparing for 2008 with your Cup sponsor Little Debbie?

Ambrose: We're really excited about it, we did our first photo shoot yesterday (December 5) with the Little Debbie folks getting ready for next year.

RacingOne: Who will be your teammates in the No. 21 on the Cup side?

Ambrose: I'm not sure about the lineup. It really has been a late decision for everybody because the 21 team was trying to get back in the owner points and everything gets dictated off of that. It depends on what Penske do with their owner points, it depends on what the 21 team or Wood brothers choose to put their drivers in to start the year. I know Jon Wood's going to do some racing. I think Ken Schrader's locked in as well to do some races and Bill Elliott's still there as well. There's going to be a mix of us in there. I think that the Wood Brothers started the business and the 21 team is in an era of change and I just can't wait to play my part in it.

RacingOne: What did you learn from your first full-season in Busch to apply in Cup?

Ambrose: I learned that it's a lot tougher than it looks. It's a tough sport. It really is. It takes its toll on you personally and physically over the course of the year. I think I just learned to pace myself better at the end of the season than I did at the start. I feel like I got to June/July and thought, wow when's this year going to finish, I'm done, you know. But, you have to pace yourself and get your head around the game that it's going to be 35 races, not 25 that are going to get you in the top 10 in points. Next year I'm going to do it better I think. Just learn to keep myself in good shape and keep my head right and try to just minimize the fluff. I did some stuff this year to try to get ahead in the sport, to try to make my name and that kind of overloaded me a little bit. So I'm going to work at just trying to keep it simpler next year.

RacingOne: Have you been keeping touch with Robby Gordon?

Ambrose: Yeah, a little bit, he offered me a lifeline to do the Cup races and he still wants to make good on his offer down the road sometime. He's a fellow Ford driver. Ever since that Montreal race we seem to be doing every PR stunt together, I don't know why that is, it must just be chance. Good luck to him and what he chooses to do with his team, trying to move forward there. We're forging our own path and I'm going to come across him again on the race track somewhere and he knows I'm a serious racer and I'm trying to win. We've got some common ground I guess, we both understand each other a little better.

RacingOne: Do the fans in Australia still talk about the incident with Gordon, plus what do they think about your move to Cup?

Ambrose: There's a lot of talk about it. I'm heading home next on Saturday straight after the Banquet dinner to do some PR work and some contract work. I'm going to get a better feel on where they're at. I do know that Channel 10, which is one of Australia's leading channels one of the top three in network channels, has taken the rights to NASCAR for their HD channel down there which is huge news for the fans. Before it was only on cable, which is hard to get access to. I think you're going to see a big shift in interest in the sport. The international deal as well, Australians know about Montoya and they know about Franchitti and they know about Sam Hornish Jr. and myself included, so there's going to be a lot of interest for the motorsport fan to tune in to watch a cup race next year because there is an international flavor to it. I look forward to it, I think it's going to be a lot of fun to spread the word about NASCAR down there and to really break open the sport for me by getting to that Cup level. I feel like if I've made it to a Cup race, I feel like I've made it, whether it's one race or 200 races, it doesn't matter to me. I came here to try and make it to the Cup level and it feels like next year it's going to come off.

RacingOne: Are you planning to do some funny commercials like Ken Schrader did this year?

Ambrose: We're doing the print stuff first which is fairly generic and basic, just getting the branding right. But, I hope they do, I still laugh at that Ken Schrader commercial, I think it's one of the best commercials that NASCAR put out this year. I look forward to it, I just can't wait to be an advocate for the Little Debbie products and what they're all about. They're a fun company, they're about having a good time with their snacks and I'm just looking forward to it.

RacingOne: Is Little Debbie going to promote a variety of their products on the car?

Ambrose: I think they're (Little Debbie) on for 18 races as naming rights. They're going to change their brand as well from race to race. They're going to have a more aggressive look at the markets they choose to penetrate. There's talk about putting the Oatmeal Creme Pies on and Honey Buns and stuff like that, so there's a lot of talk about their products and to get the image out there of how big of a company they are because I don't think a lot of people appreciate how big of a company it is.

RacingOne: Are you excited for another season in the now Nationwide Series?

Ambrose: We're doing the full season in the 59 car with Kingsford charcoal and that' really exciting. I think that all the good work we did this year to give ourselves a base to work from is going to give us a chance to really step it up a notch. We expect to win, we want to win, and we feel like anything less than winning races next year is going to be a disappointment. For us it's all about results. We want to perform better. We had a strong year to build ourselves a base. We had a consistent year but we didn't have any outstanding runs and we need to do that we need to win sometime during 2008 to make it worthwhile.

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