Race Weekend Central

Marcos Ambrose Driver Diary: Christmas at the Beach

I find it really important to get work and lifestyle in order. So, when our NASCAR season wound down, I quickly hopped on the first bird I could get on and got home to my family to try to get back to normalcy for a little while. I wanted to enjoy that Australian summer and meet up with the aunts and uncles and cousins and nephews again, and just get away from racing and get back to a bit of saner life – get some balance. I

t also gives me some time to reflect on the New Year and what I need to do to be a better racecar driver. I’ve had a great offseason. I went fishing and mountain climbing and spent time with family and had a good Christmas. I feel rejuvenated and ready to go.

I have summer most of the year the way this works and that’s the way I’ve worked it out! It’s on purpose. It’s a great thing! I actually grew up in a cold climate. Tasmania, my home state, has pretty cold winters. Not crazy snow like you get up north here, but I’m used to the cool and rain and I do enjoy both climates. I guess for Americans and Northern Hemisphere people, it does seem a bit odd to have a hot Christmas, but for us, I’ve grown up with it and I think it’s normal to go to the beach on Christmas Day.

We do the traditional roast and everything, so I guess it’s kind of funny because it’s like 100 degrees outside and we’re trying to eat a roast duck. We do that, but we also have a very casual Christmas day and barbecue with the family. Maybe go down to the beach and play some cricket on the beach or have a swim. We just enjoy Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It really is our festive season. We try to roll in our vacation period through that New Year/Christmas break. Most Australians really shut down and enjoy that time with their families.

I did no racing at all apart from a race with little mini bikes, the little motocross ones. I did that with my mates, but otherwise I just got away from it completely. Tony Stewart called, but I didn’t return his call because I really was focused on my family and my friends and I wanted to be a good Dad for a while and not get the bug and go back to a dirt track somewhere.

That’s what the Australian summer is all about, dirt-track racing with the sprint cars. Tony was down there doing that, so I knew if I spoke to him he’d twist my arm and I’d go back there and hang with him. I didn’t want to spend another weekend away from my family. I really switched off from racing and I really think it’s important for me to do that. It helps me get through the season.

My family actually heads home about three weeks earlier than I do – before the season finishes – and then they come back in March. So they have about four months back in Australia and then eight months here during the summer. It’s a good balance for them. They don’t have to be away from friends and family too long, and at the same time it allows me a chance to get going in the season and get my body and mind really on the pulse here and start the season the right way and really focus on racing.

I expect to win a race and have a chance at the Chase this year. That’s our goal as a team. It’s a realistic goal. It’s a big step to make, but I feel like we had so much growth through 2009 that if we keep that going better, results should flow. We only finished a couple hundred points out of the top 12 at the end of the 26 races. We’re excited about it and we feel like we’ve got as good a chance as anybody to make the Chase. I can’t wait to get started. I feel good about it.

Editor’s Note: Marcos Ambrose is back for another year doing a Driver Diary for Frontstretch! Check out his 2010 schedule below to find out when he’ll be posting.

February 2
February 19
March 19
April 23
May 14
June 18
July 23
August 20
September 10
October 8
October 29
November 19

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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