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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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.