Ambrose eyes Cup start

Mar­cos Ambrose is ready to step up to the Nascar main league, writes STEPHEN OT­T­LEY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

HE MAY not have qual­i­fied for last week­end’s Sprint Cup race at New Hamp­shire, but Mar­cos Ambrose is set to step up to the se­ries full-time next year.

The two-time V8 Su­per­car cham­pion moved to Amer­ica’s Nascar rac­ing in 2006 and has spent the past two sea­sons in the sec­ond-tier Na­tion­wide Se­ries with JTG Rac­ing.

Now the team and driver are ready to grad­u­ate to the top-tier Sprint Cup, ac­cord­ing to well-placed sources close to the deal.

They are sched­uled to run four races this year — at In­di­anapo­lis, Kansas, At­lanta and Home­stead-Mi­ami Speed­way — to help prepa­ra­tions for the move. Though the deal is still to be of­fi­cially signed off, the source in­di­cated that things are look­ing pos­i­tive.

The move is pos­si­ble be­cause the team has se­cured spon­sor­ship from Amer­i­can snack­food com­pany Lit­tle Deb­bie for the bulk of next year’s sched­ule.

The com­pany is so im­pressed with Ambrose it has cho­sen the Tas­ma­nian as its spokesman and will put him in its television com­mer­cials.

But be­cause of the re­li­gious be­liefs of the com­pany’s own­ers, Lit­tle Deb­bie lo­gos are not dis­played on the Satur­day of each race meet­ing. That means JTG Rac­ing needs to find spon­sors for the Sprint Cup races that run on Satur­day nights.

The team will need to find spon­sor­ship for at least seven races, which could be dif­fi­cult be­cause the eco­nomic down­turn in Amer­ica is mak­ing spon­sors harder to find.

Once the fi­nan­cial side is sorted, Ambrose will have to worry only about hav­ing to qual­ify his way into the races next year — and, judg­ing by last week­end’s per­for­mance, that will be the big­gest chal­lenge of all.

One big is­sue still to be de­cided is whether Ambrose should con­tinue to race in the Na­tion­wide Se­ries with JTG Rac­ing. He has two years left on his con­tract with JTG.

Not this time: Aus­tralia’s Mar­cos Ambrose failed to qual­ify for the Nascar Sprint Cup race at New Hamp­shire.

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