Future NASCAR cameos possible for Marcos Ambrose
With the recent news that Marcos Ambrose is returning to his native Australia to rejoin the V8 Supercars Championship in 2015, the Richard Petty Motorsports driver’s days in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are quickly coming to a close.
But would Ambrose, whose new V8 Supercars boss is none other than veteran NASCAR team owner Roger Penske, consider returning to the United States for one-off outings at the Sprint Cup Series’ two annual road-course events?
Competing on road courses, Ambrose won back-to-back V8 Supercars championships in 2003 and 2004 before coming to the United States to try his hand on ovals in NASCAR. In 218 starts since joining the Sprint Cup Series, Ambrose has two wins — which came on the road course at Watkins Glen International in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Roger Penske, whose two-car Sprint Cup program has fielded three cars in select events this year, won’t close the door on putting Ambrose in a third Team Penske car for future Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen and the Sonoma Raceway road course in Northern California.
It’s not necessarily bound to happen, either.
"Obviously having someone in the organization with the road-course experience, I think it’s about sponsorship and having the equipment," said Penske, whose organization has formed a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, the longest-established racing team in Australia, to establish DJR Team Penske.
"As you’ve seen, we’ve run a two-car team in NASCAR for the last couple years," Penske continued. "We’ve been successful. And I think that if there were reasons that we wanted to run Marcos, whether it’s an oval or a NASCAR road race, we would have to look at the schedule and to be sure we had the proper funding to do it.
"I think as far as he’s concerned, he’s made the decision to come with us in Australia, and I think those opportunities he’d have to really look at one at a time."
While Ambrose wants to finish out his NASCAR run on a positive note, the possibility of future cameo appearances isn’t top of mind for the time being.
"I haven’t thought about that, but to be honest with you, I’m just really, really excited to announce this and to look forward to putting my full commitment behind the V8 Supercar program for DJR Team Penske," Ambrose said. "I’m fully engaged in making this work in Australia. My focus is entirely on that.
"I haven’t asked the question of Roger or Tim (Cindric, Team Penske president), because I just don’t think it’s appropriate to do that. They’ve asked me to take a lead and go to Australia and help them with their V8 Supercar program, and that’s where my focus will be."