Richard Petty Motorsports announced in a news release that Marcos Ambrose will not return as the driver of the #9 Ford for the 2015 season. Shrouded in speculation, since mid-May, Ambrose would join Roger Penske as Penske prepared to enter the V8 Supercar Series in Australia, was no longer a mystery as it turned into a reality with the announcement made by RPM Saturday morning at Chicagoland.
The decision to return to Australia at the end of the 2014 season was made this summer.
“There has been a lot of conjecture through the years, but I just want to get my kids home to enjoy the Australian lifestyle so they can make a good choice when they grow up,” Ambrose said. “I just feel like personally, this is the right choice for myself and my family to call it a day here in the U.S., and move on to the next chapter.”
A former Australian V8 Supercar champion, in 2003 and 2004, a native of Launceston, Tasmania and a two time winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, began his NASCAR career in 2006, driving in the Camping World Truck series and in 2007 moving to the Nationwide Series for the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, before moving full-time into the Sprint Cup Series. In 2008, Ambrose made his start in NASCAR’s premier league making 12 starts in the #21 Wood Brothers Racing car, and 4 starts in the #47 JTG Racing car, but Ambrose only ran 11 of the plan 16 races.
In July 2008 it was announced that Ambrose would drive for the newly form JTG Daugherty Racing in the #47 Toyota, JTG Daugherty formed a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota Racing Development.
Ambrose made the move to RPM in 2011, with whom he scored both of his Sprint Cup wins, at Watkins Glen. Ambrose has won five times in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series three at the Glen and two at Montreal. With all his victories at road course races it is little wonder why many consider Ambrose among the most talented road course racers in NASCAR.
“I never thought I would achieve what I have at the Sprint Cup level,” Ambrose said following Saturday’s first practice session at Chicagoland. “I have had some wins, but not enough and I feel like I was up against it early on from my background. I came from a country that doesn’t have any asphalt oval racing at all so I feel like I have achieved a lot and am really satisfied.”
“I feel like my level has plateaued at the Sprint Cup level,” Ambrose said Saturday, speaking to reporters. “I was only in the U.S. to race to win…And when I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to contend like I wanted, that I need to look at my situation. It’s been a tough couple of years on the racetrack for me, and my family, personal situation is clear.”
RPM officials said they are reviewing their driver options for the 2015 season and beyond.
“Marcos will always be a part of our extended racing family,” Richard Petty, team co-owner said. “He came over to the United States with his family and dedicated his time here to giving it the best he had each week.”
“I couldn’t ask anything more from Marcos and his commitment on and off the track to our race team and our partners. Away from the track, he’s a family person first. That’s something I respect and we’ll miss Marcos, Sonja (his wife) and their children.”
“He is a true racer and a Ford man through and through, from racing V8 Supercars to NASCAR,” Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing said. “We support Marcos and his personal decision to go home to Australia. We hope to celebrate together with him in Victory Lane before the end of the year and add to several memorable and exciting victories he has had with RPM here in NASCAR.”