Penske expects Ambrose back in V8 Supercar this season
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Marcos Ambrose has a long-term contract with Roger Penske and is expected to be driving again in Australia’s V8 Supercars Series this season.
Ambrose earlier this month asked to be temporarily replaced as driver for DJR Team Penske. Scott Pye will replace him for this weekend’s race in Ambrose’s home state of Tasmania.
Ambrose won the Supercars championship in 2003 and 2004, then spent six years in NASCAR before returning home to drive for Penske in the team owner’s latest venture. His best finish in two races back in Supercars was 12th.
“Marcos is still with the team and we are evaluating the car right now,” Penske said Saturday at the IndyCar Series in St. Petersburg. “I think the key thing is Marcos will get back in the car, we’ve got the long distances races and we’ve got a long-term deal with him, so it’s not that he’s out.
“I think we are more evaluating what are we going to do to be better?”
Ambrose said earlier this week that he couldn’t “deliver what’s expected of me” as a lead driver for Penske, so he asked to get out of the car.
“The feel that I’m getting from the car is not what it used to be. Testing restrictions, tire restrictions, the weekend formats are pretty condensed and so I’m learning on the fly,” Ambrose said. “I don’t want to get out of the car. I love racing cars, that’s what I do for a living, but the team can’t wait for a driver to get re-acclimatized. Races cost money, serious money, and as a minimum I will be doing the co-driver races for them and the co-driver testing during the race weekends and we’ll just see how it goes.”
Although there’s been speculation in Australia that Ambrose will return to NASCAR, Penske said he’s not considering the driver for the road course races in the Sprint Cup Series. The team is currently focused on Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and development driver Ryan Blaney, who gets his seat time in an affiliated ride with The Wood Brothers.
“We’ve got enough drivers over here,” Penske said. “Our plan right now is supporting Blaney with Woods and then with Brad and Joey. There’s no reason at the moment to do that (with Ambrose).”