On the same weekend that NASCAR hosts its annual road course race at Sonoma Raceway, now comes word that former NASCAR driver and road course specialist Marcos Ambrose is once again back racing in his native Australia.
After struggling to adapt to both V8 Supercars competition and the cars themselves, Ambrose took a leave of absence in mid-March from both the series and driving the No. 17 DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon — co-owned by IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske — just a few months after returning home.
Ambrose won the Supercars championship in 2003 and 2004 before coming to NASCAR in 2006.
Now, the V8 Supercars Commission is welcoming Ambrose back by allowing him (and other “non-regular drivers”) two extra 30-minute practice sessions at upcoming endurance events at Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway (July 31-August 2)and Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint (August 21-23), according to Australia’s version of FoxSports.com.
Those races are essentially warm-up events for V8 Supercars’ prestigious Enduro Cup, which is a three-race series for the championship (think mini-Chase for the Sprint Cup): the Sandown 500 in September, and the Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 in October .
This past Friday, Ambrose climbed back into a V8 Supercar for the first time and was allowed to complete just 10 laps of practice (mandated by V8 Supercars rules) at Hidden Valley raceway in Darwin, Australia.