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NASCAR Season Preview: Marcos Ambrose

Photo credit: Parker Anderson (CC-BY-ND)

#9 Stanley Tools Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports

Born: September 1, 1976

Home: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: Joining Richard Petty Motorsports after half a decade with JTG Daugherty Racing, Ambrose finally became a Sprint Cup race winner by taking a road course victory at Watkins Glen. He had his best statistical season by scoring 12 top 10s, ranking 19th in points when all was said and done. For the fourth consecutive season, Ambrose also took a road course win in the Nationwide Series, this time at Montreal.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: A blown engine in the season finale at Homestead robbed Ambrose of a DNF-free season. Big tracks also gave Ambrose some fits, as he finished 37th in the Daytona 500, 32nd at the first Talladega race, and 34th in the Brickyard 400. He was also disappointed not to compete in the Watkins Glen Nationwide race, which he had won in each of the previous three seasons.

SEASON OUTLOOK: For the first time since the heyday of Evernham Motorsports, this team won’t see any changes from one season to the next. Ambrose returns as driver, Todd Parrott remains the crew chief, Stanley Tools is still the sponsor, Ford still builds the engines, and the team hasn’t bought out some other struggling outfit to add another car or two. That, in and of itself, is an achievement for this team, which has seen each of those categories change in the past few years. In fact, the only significant change at Petty is signing Aric Almirola to be Ambrose’s new teammate.

With consistency finally established, this team can work to regain the form that brought it to the forefront of the sport with Kasey Kahne and Kenny Francis. Ambrose is an internationally renowned talent who recovered from a sophomore slump in 2010 to become a solid, consistent driver in 2011. Now that the monkey of that first Sprint Cup win is off his back, he can work on getting the second and third – this time, maybe, on the 1.5-mile ovals that dominate the circuit.

– Chris Leone

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Comments

  1. ian oakes says:

    Ambrose will have a great 2012, just watch that Tassie Devil go. Lets hope 1 h.d t. v. show races live in Australia.

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