Marcos Ambrose Supercar test woes: ‘I’ve got to get rid of that club foot and get the ballerina shoe on and I’ll be fine’


As NASCAR prepares for its new season, Marcos Ambrose is preparing for his new season as well.

But for the first time in a decade, Ambrose will be racing in a series other than one of NASCAR’s three national series.

Ambrose, 38, is back in his native Australia, preparing for the start of the V8 Supercars season. Ambrose won the Supercars championships in 2003 and 2004 before eventually coming across the Pacific Ocean to find his fame and fortune in NASCAR.

Now he’s back to his roots. During this weekend’s so-called “SuperTest” at Sydney Motorsports Park, Ambrose is trying to shake off some of the rust and get back into his old groove.

In the first of the two-day test, Ambrose showed some good signs, but could muster no better than 15th in the overall speed charts.

Ambrose admitted he was “in the way” of some of faster cars on the track, according to

Ambrose’s team, half-owned by legendary American racing team owner Roger Penske, suffered early problems with a balky clutch that took an hour to repair.

“It started off pretty shaky with some issues that we had to fix, but we worked hard on the car and I definitely felt better at the end of the day than at the start,” Ambrose told

“In the morning I was in the way (of other cars) to be honest with you and we’re just getting it back to where I can feel the car and we can start going in our own direction a little bit.

“It’s early days, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re in the middle of the field, so we’ll just chip away at it.”

But not to fret, Ambrose fans, he’s in good company with his struggles, so to speak. Other Supercar drivers that also struggled on the first day of the test: fellow Ford FG X Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom was 12th-fastest, while defending Supercars champion Jamie Whincup was 18th.

Nissan, with four cars in the field – three in the top-10 – surprised by having the fastest time in the first day, with Todd Kelly (1:29.5352) leading the way of the 25-driver field.

Kelly, who finished a dismal 22nd in last year’s overall season standings, was .008 of a second faster than second-ranked James Courtney of Holden Racing.

The second day of SuperTest will feature the ARMOR ALL SuperShootout, with each driver making one lap around the track to determine the overall fastest of the weekend.

Ambrose did have some high points in his test. “The brakes were good, that was the real plus,” he told

He also engaged in some levity. Even though the brakes were good, the guy applying them wasn’t entirely.

“I’ve got to get rid of that club foot and get the ballerina shoe on and I’ll be fine,” Ambrose quipped. “I’ve just got to get used to the sensation of braking again and the delicate balance you have on the brake pedal. I felt like we’ve overcome that pretty well.”

In an interview with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Ambrose tried not to get too far ahead of himself. He’s obviously pointing towards a strong 2015 season, but he’s also realistic.

“We will be a contender but it will take time,’’ Ambrose told The Telegraph. “We have a lot to do here as a team. I am going to keep my expectations in check. The series has moved on a lot since then and I am just one driver going up against a lot of great teams.

“We are pretty much starting up from scratch here. We are realigning the partnership between DJR and Penske and that will take some time. I also have to get back into the car and get some experience as well.

“For the series it is great as well. It is great to have Penske involved. It shows the strength of our series and is a bones (Australian slang for “great”) to have Roger Penske involved. I will be doing my best to represent him.”

(Image courtesy Marcos Ambrose Facebook page)

On another front, Xbox Australia has renewed its sponsorship of Ambrose’s car for 2015.

As for Day 2 of the SuperTest on Sunday, Ambrose’s goal is pretty simple: “To go faster.”

“I’m not sure if I’m ready or the car is ready for it, but I’m going to have real shot at it,” he added.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at