Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/29/14

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 08: Marcos Ambrose, driver of the Little Debbie Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8, 2010 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Marcos Ambrose won the pole for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma. Here he sat down with the media to talk about that pole win. Joining him is crew chief Todd Parrott and team owner Richard Petty.

YOU WON THE POLE LAST WEEK AT MICHIGAN AT OVER 200 MPH, TODAY YOU WIN THE POLE AT UNDER 100 MPH. YOU CAN DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING OUT THERE AT JUST ABOUT ANY SPEED.  “Now that I have a taste for it I think Kentucky will be about 175 mph and I will be gunning for that as well. I am really thrilled for today. I put a lot of effort into this race and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports and the whole Stanley team have been rock solid behind me for the road course program. Ford Racing has done a lot of hard work here too and we brought a brand new hot rod for this race and it is even better than what we had here last year. I am glad we could convert the effort into a great result. It is only one lap and we have to do a lot more on Sunday but at least we can go home and say we had the fastest car. I was more nervous running 90 mph than I was running 200. You just have to be really precise with your marks and very aggressive and carry momentum through these tight corners.” 

RICHARD, TALK A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE UP HERE THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW WITH MARCOS AND AT SUCH A DIFFERENT TRACK.  RICHARD PETTY – “Well, winning this week was not as unexpected as what last week was. That, I tried to tell him and I didn’t want to put any pressure on him for when he did come out here. I guess everything went good. Anytime you can sit on the pole it is good but the big deal now is getting ready for the race. I think we won the race here with Richard Petty Motorsports a couple three years ago, so some of the guys know how to win here also. We have a driver we think that gave one of them away out here so it is time he got one back for us.” 

TODD, YOUR FEELINGS AND WHAT THIS TEAM CAN DO HERE AT THIS COURSE THIS WEEKEND? TODD PARROTT – “Well, like Marcos said we have a great team here at RPM and we had a great test back the end of May and brought a brand new race car and a lot of hard work and effort went into it from a lot of people. The test went well and yesterday was a really big day for our team going out to the hospital and visiting all the kids there in Sacramento and I am glad we were able to deliver the pole for the kids to start the race on Sunday. That is really cool. I think what this man did today was incredible. I sat there on pit wall and watched the Sprint Vision and was in awe of that lap. It was just incredible. I have seen a lot of qualifying laps here but that was one of the smoothest, easiest looking laps I have ever seen. I am really proud of him.”

MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED — WHAT DOES IT DO FOR YOUR TEAM AND INTERACTING WITH THE CREW GUYS THIS SUCCESS?  “It is great for morale. The guys on the team have been working double time and a half the last month. They have had no days off and working crazy hours just to turn over cars we need for all the testing and stuff we have going on. It is great to give it back to them. It is great to be able to say thank you for all the hard work. It is not often in your life when you get so many people putting so much effort into something you love to do. It is awesome as a drive to be a part of that.”

DID YOU WATCH JEFF (GORDON’S) QUALIFYING LAP?  “It didn’t look that close to me (laughter). I was hiding underneath the truck. I didn’t want to watch. Jeff is such a talented road racer and I watched him back in Australia when he was winning all those races at Watkins Glen. He is one of the world’s best road racers and I knew he had a great car after the lap he put down in practice. I was very nervous to watch him go. I tried to act like a wombat and put my head on the ground and just wait.” 

DO YOU FEEL THIS RACE TRACK OWES YOU ONE? “No, no it doesn’t. I beat myself up here in 2010. It was nothing to do with the car or the track, it was me. I have got to make amends for that if I can and with experience comes knowledge and I know what not to do on the last restart and we will go from there. I am excited to be given the opportunity to drive for RPM and be the Stanley driver this weekend. We have as good a chance as anyone to win the race and that is all you can ask.”

WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS, THIS IS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY WITH THE WILD CAR TO SET YOURSELF UP. HOW DOES THAT PLAY IN ON SUNDAY? “I am not thinking about the Chase or championships or what not. I am out there to try to do the best I can every single weekend. The points will take care of themselves if you do your job well. That being said, we want to get out of here and we watch and think about converting results. We have got speed, there is no doubt about that. We had trouble at the start of the year converting our speed into good results. I am focused on the results on the day and the championship will take care of itself if you do your job right.”

RICHARD PETTY CONTINUED – YOU RACED AT RIVERSIDE AND NOW YOU SEE MARCOS DOING THIS LAP. DID YOU EVERY TRY TO GIVE HIM POINTERS TO CUT SOME TIME OF THE ESSES THERE? “I was not very smooth, that is for sure. I came from dirt tracks so when I had a chance to run into the dirt I did at Riverside. If you notice they have all around the corners those big cement deals and stuff that would keep me from running off in the dirt. The fastest way around any race track is on the race track. Riverside was completely different circumstances, a different race track and I had to do what I thought I had to do at that time to win the race. Marcos is so smooth on the road course. We would run maybe one or two road courses a year and everything else was to the left. I always like Riverside because it had high speed and low speed too. We did pretty good and won a few races there. The difference in equipment and stuff, we ran a lot of stock cars and they would move around and these cars are strictly race cars and have to stay on the race track. There is nobody better at that than Marcos.”

TODD PARROTT CONTINUED — TODD, WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH RICHARD PETTY? “Well, it is a lot of fun to work for Richard Petty. I was fortunate enough to do it in 1984 when I was his tire specialist when he won his 199th and 200th races. To sit here and say that I can help lead a team to get a pole position or a win or whatever we do this day in time is pretty special. It is pretty awesome to be sitting up here with this man, with both of them actually. Like I said, there is a lot of history in my family through Richard so it is a very special day for me.”

CAN YOU TELL BY THE SOUND OF THE ENGINE THAT YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THE POLE? “Not really by the sound of the engine, no. I could tell by the pep in the step of my driver and the kick in his walk this morning. He had a sense of urgency like he had something he was going to get done today. It is a big weekend for us with what we have going on with the Children’s Miracle Network. Our race car general, if you just walk around our race car and see the names of the kids and the things they are going through it will just tear your heart out. It is a special weekend and a great way to get it started.”

MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED – WHEN YOU ARE IN THE CAR CAN YOU HEAR THAT YOU HAVE A GOOD CAR ON A DAY LIKE TODAY? “I make my own sounds. You know, I knew walking into this race track with all the effort that has gone into this car and our team that we had an opportunity to get the pole today. It doesn’t take the engine starting up, it is the hum of movement if you want to put it into sounds. It is just watching my team do their job. There is no guaranteed success and we know that coming into today. We had to do our job well and work hard to get that pole. I knew that walking in. It is great and these days are great to have. They don’t come around often enough to have good days like this.”

IS THERE A DIFFERENT SOUND ON A ROAD COURSE THAN ON AN OVAL? “At Michigan you leave pit lane and get up to top gear and you are holding those big RPM’s the whole way around. The engine is just running at 9,200 to 9,600 RPM the whole way around. It is a constant drone. If you lift off the gas you just lose the RPM and it sounds like a deflating balloon. You just can’t get it back, you can’t get the speed back. Here you are hardly ever really on the gas hard and there are a lot of gear changes and noise. You are banging off curbs and locking up tires and you can hear the screeching of the tires when you come off turns. There is a different sensation behind the wheel and I guess the sound if you thought about it you would say that it did sound different but most of the time I am screaming and can’t hear the sound of the car anyway.”


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