Saturday afternoon, Michael Waltrip (MW) and Marcos Ambrose traveled to Daytona Beach , Fla. for the annual Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway (DIS).
The two signed autographs for hundreds of fans and also participated in a question and answer session on stage in the infield.
There were a lot of fans wearing NAPA gear asking Waltrip multiple questions. To Ambrose's surprise, there were also a few people in the audience from his home country of Australia with questions as well.
One question in particular posed to Ambrose and Waltrip from the audience was “What was the best racing advice they had ever received and from who?”
MW immediately responded, "Well from Richard Petty of course. He told me ‘if you want to be in the NASCAR Cup Series, then go get a ride in NASCAR Cup and don't be messing around with 100 other things.’ So, I wandered over to Statesville and found a guy named Dick Bahre who had a car. I talked him into letting me drive it and I even bribed him a little bit. Basically, I did whatever I had to do to get in that car. I made my first attempt with him in the Coca-Cola 600 in 1985 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Ever since then, in some form or another, I have been doing this job."
Ambrose followed by saying, "Mine was from Ken Schrader in passing, but I really took it to heart. He said, ‘just don't cause any trouble in NASCAR and you'll be able to hang around for a while.’ So, I've tried not to cause any trouble. If you don't cause any trouble with your team owner, they will keep you in the car and if you don't cause any trouble with NASCAR, you'll get to race and as long as you don't knock out Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) then the fans will like you."
Both Waltrip and Ambrose wrapped in the evening after four hours that included interaction with fans, a press conference in the DIS media center and interviews with ESPN and SPEED Channel.
The two were also guests on SPEED Channel's Trackside Live with regulars Darrell Waltrip, Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond that will air next week.
This week marks a busy week for them and also David Reutimann, who was not able to attend Daytona’s Fan Fest.
Ambrose, Reutimann and Waltrip have a full schedule of media activities. Monday kicks off the week with sit down interviews for "The Road to Daytona", which is a one hour show that will air on FOX leading into Daytona 500.
On Tuesday, Ambrose will be in SPEED Channel's new studio as a guest for the Preseason Thunder show. Following that, he will participate in a NASCAR video teleconference.
On Wednesday, Reutimann and Waltrip gear up for a commercial shoot with Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership. They are shooting a few commercials at a Charlotte area Aaron’s store. One of those commercials will include Waltrip’s daughter Macy.
Speaking of commercials, Waltrip along with NHRA driver Ron Capps wrapped up four this past week in the Charlotte area. When a fan asked Waltrip if there would be new NAPA commercials as funny as the ones last season, Waltrip lit up with a smile assuring his fans there will be.
"We just shot a Toyota commercial that is really funny and we shot four NAPA commercials and they are really good," Waltrip said. "I'll give you a hint. Ron Capps and I go to people’s houses in Charlotte and we play different games with them like Clue, 20 questions or charades. You will love seeing them.
“I am really thankful and I have been lucky over the years to be able to do great commercials thanks to my sponsors,” continued Waltrip. “I appreciate being a part of it all. Now, we have the Aaron's commercials this week and Macy is going to be in one of them. So, I am really looking forward to that."
Ambrose is also on a commercial shoot this week before a Toyota photo shoot Thursday afternoon. NASCAR is shooting a national commercial at Lowe's Motor Speedway featuring the Australian driver.
Ambrose, Reutimann and Waltrip are all getting back into the swing of things before competing in The Great American Race. Ambrose will star in his first Daytona 500 for JTG-Daugherty Racing in the No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota hoping to top his career-best finish of third-place (Watkins Glen International)