Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Marcos Ambrose - Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Preview

INDIANAPOLIS (July 21, 2009) – This season marked Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s celebration of its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility. It is also the 16th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Marcos Ambrose’s second chance to race the No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota with his crew chief Frank Kerr and JTG-Daugherty Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team.

The historic 2.5-mile oval is a place like no other that still gives Kerr goose bumps when he steps foot on what he refers to as “hallowed ground.”

“To be honest I do get goose bumps every time I go there,” said Kerr who grew up racing open wheel cars, winning 250 races in divisions such as, USAC, World of Outlaws and All Star (four-time All Star Champion). “It’s just the coolest place in the world and the most historic venue we go to on the circuit. It doesn’t matter how many times you walk into that facility, you are still in awe. Then there is the ‘Yard of Bricks’ at the start-finish line serving as a tribute to the 2.5-mile oval - - the only ones left exposed from the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway racing surface.”

“I’ve been through the museum a hundred times too,” continued Kerr. “Once I was able to take a special tour of the basement and that was really something. It has a lot of old cars like Indy cars, roadsters and much more. There’s stuff down there that has never been on display. To think those guys ran around there at 150 miles per hour or better with them old cars with six inch tires on them is pretty amazing.”

Kerr’s Australian driver, who will be driving the same Toyota he finished sixth with at Pocono Raceway in June, shares his crew chief’s sentiments.

“Frankie’s right, the place is special and I remember growing up watching the Indy 500 in Tasmania wishing I was there,” Ambrose said. “It’s just a big thrill to be able to race the Little Debbie® Toyota at the Brickyard because there’s so much racing history.”

There are many memorable Brickyard moments for both the IRL and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. If you asked Kerr who comes to mind when you talk about the Brickyard, he will jump at the chance to say “why A.J. Foyt, get serious, he’s the real deal.” While Kerr is adamant about the four-time Indy 500 champ, Ambrose is just as serious about four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears. Danny Sullivan was another racing great that Ambrose mentioned as he discussed the unforgettable 1985 Indy 500 win and spin.

“A.J. was a little before my time, but I really liked watching Rick Mears, who drove for Roger Penske,” Ambrose said. “Danny Sullivan was another standout and I remember his 1985 win. He spun 360 degrees down the south short chute between one and two after passing Mario Andretti for the lead. He recovered from that to come back and win the race.”
Ambrose and Kerr spoke of several monumental moments and this season they are looking to make their own.

“We've had some great runs this year," Ambrose said. "I always said that if I didn’t make it, I’ll just pack up and go home and last year's Allstate 400 was a really important race for me. There was a lot riding on that race. We qualified decent and fortunately it was a breakout race.”

“My first race there was with Robby Gordon and it was an unbelievable feeling to be standing on pit road with all the fans in the stands surrounding you,” Kerr said. “Then I went back there with Marcos last year and I was still mesmerized. It's a place we really want to excel at this weekend.”

It was only Ambrose’s second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start with Kerr last year and they posted a respectable 22nd-place finish in the prestigious event.

“We had a good showing there and we really didn’t have nothing,” Kerr said. “We’ve been running well this season and we have some expectations going into this weekend. We’re bringing the same car we almost had a top-five with at Pocono. Pocono’s turns 2 and 3 are a lot like Indy and Marcos excelled there. We feel like we can have a good run.”

Ambrose and his JTG-Daugherty Racing team compete in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26th. Live coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway airs on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. Also, IMS and Sirius XM Satellite Radio will also air the event live.

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