Brakes will be key heading into Martinsville Speedway this weekend and Marcos Ambrose plans to utilize his braking skills to give himself an advantage over the field. With a background in road course racing Ambrose has had many years to hone his braking skills and hopes it will pay off this weekend with a win at the half-mile track.
With the short nature of Martinsville Speedway, brakes tend to overheat, making brake management key for teams. The drivers who can roll into the corners without having to be hard on the brakes early in the race will have the equipment left at the end to contend for a win.
Ambrose will be making his eighth career start at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. The Australian native's best start (second) and best finish (11th) at the Virginia track came in 2010. Ambrose sits in 17th-place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into this weekend's 500-mile race.
Don't forget to tune into Sirius XM Radio on Channel 90, Friday, at 10 a.m. ET for the Morning Drive with Pete Pistone and Mike Bagley to listen to Marcos talk about racing at Martinsville Speedway.
Ambrose on Racing at Martinsville: "Martinsville is a unique track and one of the oldest ones on the circuit. I really enjoy going there because I like short-track racing. The Virginia track is a tough little half-mile speedway and it's a one-groove race track, which makes it really difficult to pass. We are going to have to focus on making a good qualifying lap so we can start up front and not have to worry about passing. The track is also hard on the brakes, so I'm going to have to concentrate on making sure I can keep them cool. I'm going to need a setup that will allow me to be smooth off the corners so that my Black & Decker Ford gets good forward bite. Things happen fast at Martinsville so I'm going to have to be on top of my game so I can do my best to avoid any on-track incidents. We had a great car in Kansas last weekend so we are going into Martinsville with a little momentum. We've only got four races left so we need to round out the season with some good finishes, and that's exactly what we plan to do this weekend."
Comments from Crew Chief Mike Ford on Going to Martinsville: "Martinsville is a challenging track. It's hard on the driver and hard on the car. It's going to be really important that Marcos takes care of his brakes this weekend. He's going to need to make sure he can keep them as cool as possible early, so we have some left at the end of the race. He'll need to make sure he brakes well on entry into the corners to keep the car from getting loose. Martinsville is a one-groove race track so passing will be difficult. If we are able to drive off the turns and not lose any grip, we'll have the opportunity to do some passing.
"Another challenge at Martinsville is getting on and off of pit road. Pit road is concrete and it's small and narrow. Qualifying will be important so we get a good pit stall selection because some of the pit stalls in Turns 3 and 4 have banking in them. If we have to pit in the banking it can make it difficult to get the car jacked up and the tires back to the pit wall."