Home' Supercar Xtra : Dec 2014 Jan 2015 Issue 84 Contents 24
But then after three years at the absolute top, two
titles and one runner-up spot, he threw it all in and
went chasing a new challenge – NASCAR in the United
States of America. It was a big ask, and despite not
winning anything other than road-course races, he
rates it a successful nine years.
“I’d have to rate it as a success,” he says. “I never
thought I’d last a year out there, let alone a decade. I
made the Sprint Cup series, I’ve won races at Sprint
Cup level and I fit into the Sprint Cup series pretty
“I have missed a few opportunities, no doubt about
it, but I think there’s factors – coming from a different
country and coming from a different background was
always a big thing. So all those factors and more come
into play and I just haven’t been able to make the dif-
ference to get to that next level.
“But I’m still really proud of what I’ve achieved. I’ve
had a great time and I’m in the history books over here
as NASCAR race winner and no one can take that away
from me. I’ve certainly got that NASCAR bug out
of my system, I’m really thrilled with my deci-
sion to call it a day at the end of 2014. I think
the timing is right for me personally.
“My career in NASCAR flattened off, and
I always said that when I felt like I wasn’t
going to be able to either keep progressing
or wasn’t going to be able to achieve
what I came here to do, which was to
win a championship, then I needed
to look at my options, and that’s
exactly what I’ve done.”
There had been attempts to bring
him back into the V8 Supercars fold
as a wildcard at the season-ending
Sydney 500 finale (when the NASCAR
season had wrapped up) by SBR and
Ford Performance Racing; the series even
introducing the wildcard rule in 2010 to
allow for such a scenario.
Yet it was only when he had signed up
with Team Penske and Dick Johnson Racing (DJR),
the amalgamation of two great racing operations (see
page 36), that Ambrose could fulfil that wildcard role
in 2014 in preparation for a full-time campaign from
2015 and his return to a Falcon V8 Supercar.
The Devil Racer will re-lay his roots in Tasmania
while commuting to the DJR Team Penske base in
southeast Queensland. And therein lines the keys to
his return. It was important for him to commute, to
get back to Tasmania with Sonya and his two daugh-
ters, to fire up all the family links that he had been
missing while living in America.
The second part was that he needed to do it in a
serious way; otherwise he was just going to come home
to an early retirement. He started looking a couple of
years back, and now with Team Penske coming on
board he has decided he has found the perfect vehicle
to reignite his career here.
“I looked at coming back before my last Richard Petty
Motorsport deal,” he says. “I thought it was too early to
hang the helmet up and I was looking for options that
I could seriously consider returning for... but this time
around I was happy to stop racing if something like
this didn’t come together.
“At the same time I was deciding that my time
was up and that I wasn’t going to drive past 2014 (in
NASCAR), I started talking to Roger. The two really
lined up very well and if the Team Penske deal had
been pushed back I would have been happy to wait. If
it didn’t come together at all, I would have been happy
“But I’m thrilled with the outcome, I think it’s per-
sonally the best scenario all around. I’ve got a lot more
to give on the track and I’m really pumped up and
highly motivated to come back and do well in 2015.
“I don’t take that challenge lightly. I know it’s going
to take some time to get integrated back into the series
with the way they like to race, with the rules they have
in place, and also the technical aspect of these cars, but
I know what I’ve done in the past, and I know what I’m
capable of, and it’s not like I’ve been sitting around on
“I’ve been racing 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races every
season. I’ve had plenty of racing miles under my belt.
Road racing is my niche. It’s what I’m really good
at, driving heavy race cars around road courses,
and I’m looking forward to dedicating my entire
seasons to it.”
Ambrose wasn’t that thrilled with the
direction of the series when he left after
2005. He just missed his third title in a
row and squabbles with officials during
the year seemed to have an impact on
that (see page 30).
“I’m sure it’s a combination of a lot
of things,” he says. “First of all, the
primary reason why I left was that I was
28/29 and I viewed myself as an interna-
tional driver and I wanted to have one last
shot at it. I’d just had a baby and if wasn’t
then, it was going to be never.
Marcos Ambrose in
V8 Supercars: 2001-2005
Scan to watch Marcos
Ambrose discuss his
return to V8 Supercars.
V8X84 p22-28 Ambrose.indd 24
14/11/14 4:07:07 PM
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