It’s hard to believe someone would pass up a guaranteed job or upwards of $4 million dollars but that is exactly what Marcos Ambrose did when he stepped out of his contract with JTG Racing a year early.
Ambrose’s reasons were simple. He didn’t feel the team was competitive and he wanted an opportunity to contend during NASCAR races. While some in Australia loudly hoped for a return to the V8 Supercar ranks, Ambrose himself said he wanted to compete on the NASCAR circuit citing a belief he would be successful.
Almost immediately after the news he was leaving JTG Racing came out there were rumors he was headed to Richard Petty Motorsports. We also heard that former NASCAR Champion Bobby Labonte would take over the #47 car. While the Labonte announcement was made offical in days nothing involving Ambrose had been mentioned by RPM or the driver himself.
That is until yestserday when RPM annouced that they would have a new driver/sponsor group intact for the 2011 season and that news would come out on Tuesday.
The following are comments from the RPM Facebook page.
“I’m very excited to join Richard Petty Motorsports,” said Ambrose. “It’s an incredible honor to be able to race for a legend like The King and be a part of this organization. I’m also happy to be back with Ford Racing. The No. 9 team has been a very successful team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With the support of Ford and everyone at RPM, I believe we can continue that tradition of success. I’m also excited to join forces with Stanley.”
“We are very happy to have Marcos Ambrose join our team,” said NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Richard Petty. “He’s a very talented and passionate driver and will be a great addition to our team.”
“We knew once Marcos became available that we wanted him to be a part of the RPM family,” said Foster Gillett, managing partner and team owner. “He’s a fan favorite and he’s proven to be a tough competitor on track. We’re thrilled to have Stanley continue their partnership with our team and believe that Marcos is a great fit for the Stanley Racing program.”
“All of us at Ford are very happy to have Marcos ‘back home,'” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsport. “We helped Marcos come to America and become a NASCAR driver because we believed in his talent, and loved the way he connected with Ford fans here and in Australia. Already a Ford champion in Supercars, we believe his move to RPM will give him the car and equipment to win races and contend for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup going forward.”
Ideally everyone involved is hoping that Ambrose will show more of the promise he had during the 2009 season when he had 4 top-5’s and 7 top-10’s in his first full season. There is also hope that a switch to RPM will make Ambrose a contender in more races in addition to the two road course events.