Skip to content

Marcos Ambrose hopes for big rebound for himself, Richard Petty Motorsports in 2014

Feb 7, 2014, 12:07 AM EST

Cheez-It 355 - Practice Getty Images

Marcos Ambrose doesn’t mince words: Last year was the most trying season yet in NASCAR.

“Certainly, 2013 was the most difficult year of my racing career,” Ambrose said in an interview with MotorSportsTalk. “The fact that I’ve always been on an upward trend in NASCAR, 2013 was the first year that I flattened off and even dropped back down.”

And if things don’t markedly improve for the Australian native this season, it could potentially be Ambrose’s last season in NASCAR.

“If I have another year like (2013), I’m going to have to really start scratching my head and have a good hard think about what I’m doing because this year is certainly the year we need to break out and do something special,” Ambrose said.

Ambrose, 37, finished 22nd last season, the second-worst showing in his Sprint Cup career (finished 26th in 2010).

After winning one race each in both 2011 and 2012, as well as a combined eight top-five finishes those two seasons, Ambrose struggled miserably in 2013, with no wins or top-five finishes, and just six top-10s.

His average finish of 19.9 in last season’s 36 races was nothing short of embarrassing, Ambrose admitted.

“It just didn’t work out for us,” he said. “I think there was a combination of factors, the new rules package that came out, we got behind early on and I just really struggled to get a feel driving for the car. I felt like I just never had the feeling I needed.”

Yet Ambrose has good reason to feel much more optimistic heading into the 2014 season. Significant investments into improving the overall standing of Richard Petty Motorsports will hopefully pay off in big dividends.

“Our race team is really reinvigorated,” Ambrose said. “We’ve added a lot of human resources to our program in 2014 and have created a (research and development) program. That’s the first time that has happened since I’ve been at Richard Petty Motorsports.

“We’re really excited about the potential of unlocking some more brain power in our race program and we’re thrilled to not only keep what we have since I joined Richard Petty Motorsports. I joined it at a fairly tumultuous time, it was a difficult time for Richard and everybody to rebrand the company, to revive the company and take it from the crumbs.

“I’ve seen it at its darkest days and I’m really looking forward to 2014 because I think it’s the year that (RPM) can break out and really show everybody the maturity that it’s taken since I’ve been there, which is four years now. At the end of the day, we’re all racing to win and put Richard Petty back in victory lane. We’ve been able to do it occasionally over the last couple years, but we want to do it on a more frequent basis if we can.”

Petty concurs with Ambrose’s optimism, a trait that has contagiously swept throughout RPM during the offseason, bringing the company to a point it hasn’t been in a long time.

“We’re probably in the best shape we’ve been in the last three or four years,” Petty said. “Everybody knows we hit the bottom of the deal three years ago. … We just tried to get some foundation (since then). I don’t know if our year (2013) was that much better than the year before, but we were a lot more stable.”

But at the same time, Petty’s admittedly concerned about Ambrose’s future, as well as the future of the No. 9 Ford Fusion. Once the picture of optimism and excitement, last year’s struggles had a decidedly negative impact upon Ambrose.

“I don’t know how much longer he wants to stay in the U.S.,” Petty said candidly. “You know, (Ambrose has) come a long way. He’s sort of a hero in Australia just because he’s running Cup. His big deal is if he could win on a round and around racetrack, that would be the optimum for him. If he did do that, he’d probably just go home and say, ‘Thank you guys,’ but I don’t know.”

That may be the case, but Ambrose is determined to show last season was an aberration. If he can turn things around and bounce back this season as he hopes, Ambrose will likely continue his Cup career for a few more years.

“Where the rules are going this year, it’s going to give us a better chance to make the Chase and really do something special,” Ambrose said. “The gloves are off and we’re looking forward to turning a fresh page.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. Brad Keselowski tips Lewis Hamilton to win F1 title

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:57 AM EST

    Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 - Practice Getty Images

    “I believe in miracles but not this time. Lewis Hamilton has got this.”

  2. Remembering iconic motorsports PR great Denny Darnell

    Nov 22, 2014, 11:21 PM EST

    Denny Darnell (far left), with wife Jean, and Cyndee and Jerry Bonkowski. Denny Darnell (far left), with wife Jean, and Cyndee and Jerry Bonkowski.

    The world of motorsports — particularly NASCAR and NHRA — is mourning arguably the best public relations person it has ever seen, Denny Darnell, who passed away Saturday.

  3. Indy USF2000 winner Will Owen moves to Juncos Racing, Pro Mazda Series in 2015

    Nov 22, 2014, 6:15 PM EST

    (Photo courtesy Juncos Racing) (Photo courtesy Juncos Racing)

    Will Owen, who impressively won the 2014 USF2000 race as a rookie at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past May, is moving up the racing ladder.

  4. Marco Andretti, Will Power, AJ Allmendinger go back to roots in big karting race this weekend in Las Vegas

    Nov 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EST

    superkarts usa

    Marco Andretti, reigning IndyCar champ Will Power and NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger, are all going back to their racing roots this weekend in Las Vegas, taking part in one of the biggest karting events of the season.

  5. Luke Lambert, Ryan Newman’s crew chief, named ‘Problem Solver of the Year’; earns $100k prize

    Nov 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

    Ryan Newman, left, team owner Richard Childress and crew chief Luke Lambert together at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend. (Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke, Lambert, crew chief for Ryan Newman, has been named Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ “Problem Solver of the Year.” And with it comes a $100,000 prize that he’ll receive Dec. 4 in Las Vegas.

  6. Former F1 driver Mark Webber talks Hamilton-Rosberg title battle (VIDEO)

    Nov 22, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of USA - Race Getty Images

    The former Grand Prix regular and current sports car racer chats with NBCSN’s Will Buxton in Abu Dhabi.

  7. Force India owner Vijay Mallya comes out firing against Red Bull on Twitter

    Nov 22, 2014, 3:50 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice Getty Images

    Mallya attacks Red Bull following its double exclusion from today’s qualifying session in Abu Dhabi.

  8. Formula E Notes: Lucas di Grassi keeps points lead; Nick Heidfeld excluded from Putrajaya ePrix

    Nov 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Formula E Championship - Putrajaya Getty Images

    di Grassi climbs from 18th on the grid to second at finish in Putrajaya ePrix; Nick Heidfeld found to have made pit stop car change outside permitted area, relegated to 19th.

  9. Abu Dhabi GP Paddock Notebook – Saturday

    Nov 22, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    The stage is set for the final showdown on Sunday. Will it be Lewis or Nico?

  10. GP2: Vandoorne claims fourth win of 2014 in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 22, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

    © GP2 Media Service © GP2 Media Service

    McLaren junior driver moves up to second in the championship with feature race win in Abu Dhabi.

  11. IndyCar: Ryan Hunter-Reay, partners give $2.5 million to new Cleveland Clinic cancer center

    Nov 22, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 2 Getty Images

    The new cancer center’s lobby will be named in honor of RHR’s late mother, who succumbed to colon cancer in 2009.

  12. Stevens impresses in maiden F1 qualifying outing

    Nov 22, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRACTICE Getty Images

    The British F1 debutant will start his first grand prix from 17th place tomorrow.

  13. Jeremy Mayfield continues racing comeback this weekend in Myrtle Beach

    Nov 22, 2014, 12:58 PM EST

    Jeremy Mayfield, shown in one of his last Sprint Cup races, at Texas, in 2009. He was suspended by the sanctioning body a few weeks later for failing a drug test. (File photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He remains suspended by NASCAR, but Jeremy Mayfield continues his racing comeback this weekend at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

  14. Red Bull drivers excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRACTICE Getty Images

    Ricciardo and Vettel to start from the back of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

  15. Button ready to enjoy what could be his final grand prix

    Nov 22, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying Getty Images

    With his family and friends in Abu Dhabi, Button is simply enjoying the moment.

  16. McLaren likely to keep Vandoorne in GP2 next year

    Nov 22, 2014, 11:30 AM EST

    © Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic © Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic

    The 22-year-old is not set to move up to F1 despite an incredible rookie season in GP2.

  17. Bottas and Williams cast in Abu Dhabi spoiler role from second row

    Nov 22, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    BottasADp3 Getty Images

    Valtteri Bottas and Williams best of the rest once again in Abu Dhabi qualifying.

  18. O’Connell confident Caterham can find a buyer

    Nov 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice Getty Images

    The administrator put in charge of the ailing F1 team believes that a buyer can be found in the next couple of weeks.

  19. Vettel frustrated to have Ferrari test blocked by Red Bull

    Nov 22, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRESSER Getty Images

    “The technical people were panicking a little bit, being afraid that I would take some secrets.”

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1752)
  2. J. Johnson (1689)
  3. D. Hamlin (1566)
  4. J. Logano (1561)
  5. T. Stewart (1501)
  1. R. Newman (1386)
  2. K. Harvick (1348)
  3. K. Kahne (1340)
  4. J. McMurray (1324)
  5. K. Larson (1161)