Tuesday, September 22, 2009


DOVER, Del. (September 22, 2009) – On Monday, Marcos Ambrose and his wife Sonja hosted a Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer birthday party for his daughter Adelaide before boarding a plane to Daytona Beach, Florida for a two-day Goodyear tire test. Once the test wraps, he travels north to race his No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

“We had a two year old birthday party,” Ambrose said yesterday. “So, it was a big day for us. It was a Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer party for my littlest one, Adelaide. Once we were finished, I boarded a plane for a Goodyear tire test in Daytona.

“It’s a very simple tire test for Goodyear,” Ambrose continued. “When they decided to test, I raised my hand and I feel lucky to be given the opportunity. We’ll try to shake the tires down and give them the best chance to have a good tire for the Daytona 500 in 2010.”

After a long work week, Ambrose settles into Dover where he started and finished 20th at the one-mile concrete oval in May. The 33-year-old admits the Monster Mile was challenging for him and was glad to return three months later to log some laps for another Goodyear tire test.

“We really struggled in the first race there,” Ambrose said. “We just couldn’t get a handle on the car. We went back there for a test and just tried to get some laps. We worked on our setup and we felt really good about the changes we made. We felt good about how the car worked, but you just don’t know. These cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are so fine tuned that you know the wrong setup can ruin your day. We’re not overly confident, but at the same time we feel that we learned some good information.”

Dover is its own animal. However, Ambrose compares it to Bristol Motor Speedway where he finished tenth and third respectively this season.

“Maybe Bristol,” Ambrose said. “Dover has a similar feel to Bristol, but much faster. Obviously it’s faster. One of those places that can break you in a hurry and it’s a real challenge to get around. It’s also a real thrill and I really enjoy it.

Dover is a wonderful track and one of the best we go to on the circuit,” Ambrose continued. “There’s a lot of character to it. It’s very demanding on the drivers. It’s unique. Some days I run really well. Some days I can’t get it to go my way. It’s a very challenging track to prepare for and feel confident on.”

Bristol and Dover may have similarities, but Ambrose admits the setups are entirely different for his Little Debbie® Toyota.

“The setups are so far different that what we ran at Bristol would not work at Dover,” Ambrose said. “So you have to start again on your car setup and that’s pretty much what all of the drivers are doing. We’re all working on our car setups, trying to make it the perfect way for us to get around the track. When you have a good day, or a bad day, 90% of it is about how the car is handling not necessarily how the driver is driving. The load is different. The speed is different. Everything changes. We are confident though that we have a pretty good setup there, but we won’t know until we get there.”

However, Ambrose also feels confident more doors have opened to excel at Dover now that the Chase for the Sprint Cup is in progress.

“I think it gives us more of an opportunity to win a race because there’s going to be a lot of guys out there that are worried about the points,” Ambrose said. “The Chase can be lost in the first few, but it can never be won then, so they’re going to drive a little more conservative to get their Chase up and running. It’s going to give drivers that are trying to break out a chance to get their first victory.”

Live coverage of the AAA 400 on Sunday, September 27th begins at 1 p.m. ET on ABC. MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio will also broadcast the event.

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