Marcos Ambrose’s decision on his future is drawing closer

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With DJR Team Penske co-owner Roger Penske slated to be in Auckland, New Zealand for the Australian V8 Supercars’ ITM 500 race Nov. 6-8, it’s likely he and Marcos Ambrose will sit down and discuss what Ambrose wants – or doesn’t want – to do in 2016.

The year of discontent for the former two-time Supercar champ continued this past weekend at the Castrol Gold Coast 600.

After a Top 10 in Saturday’s preliminary action in their No. 17 Ford Falcon FG X, Ambrose and co-driver Scott Pye – hampered by a broken rib suffered in a crash at Bathurst earlier this month – finished Sunday’s main event a disappointing 21st out of 25 drivers in the overall event.

“Scott did a great job to get us into P6 for the start,” Ambrose said on DJR Team Penske’s Facebook page. “I held on OK, but lost touch a little with those top five runners.

“The day did not pan out of course as Scott ended up with a pit lane drive through, and that really ended our day. We were short on fuel and had to make the extra stop.”

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Marcos Ambrose (photo courtesy DJR Team Penske Facebook page)

While DJR Team Penske will be a two-car team next season, Ambrose’s role – if any – likely would be a part-time driver at best. That is, if he decides to do that.

Still, Ambrose, who returned to his native Australia at the end of 2014 after nearly a decade in NASCAR racing, is optimistic for his team next season.

“It has been great to see how far the team and the car has come since I stepped back,” Ambrose said, referring to his decision to step aside after the first race of the season earlier this year. “I think next year is looking good for DJR Team Penske.”

But as for what he’ll be doing next year, Ambrose remains tight-lipped. It’s possible that he’s waiting to talk to Penske before deciding what he’ll ultimately wind up doing.

“It’s the first time I’ve been a co-driver so it’s a little different, but I’ve certainly enjoyed my time and I felt good behind the wheel,” Ambrose told v8supercars.com.au.

As for 2016, he added, “I’ll just look at all and in time it will be all clear. I just want to make sure I’m enjoying it and make sure I can contribute the way I want to. It will all work out in due course.

“It’s just time – I’ll look at the landscape with the team and we’ll go from there.”

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Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”