NEWS

25 | 06 | 2012 - FROSTY VISITS AMBROSE AND MEETS THE KING

Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom caught up with Marcos Ambrose and was granted an audience with NASCAR royalty this weekend when he spent time shooting the breeze with the sport's greatest ever driver, Richard Petty at Sonoma Raceway just north of San Francisco.

Frosty, who is in the United States as part of a Disney promotional tour, spent the weekend at the undulating road course near the Napa Valley watching former Ford V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose along with Ford's other Cup Series stars including points leader Matt Kenseth.

Ambrose and Winterbottom caught up on the latest news from Australia and discussed life in the Cup Series.

"It was great to see Marcos again especially on a weekend where he was on pole," Winterbottom said.

"To see a Cup race was a real experience as you hear about the cars and the famous drivers on TV a lot but to meet them and realise they are just like every other driver going around was pretty cool.

"The cars are very different to what we race. Aside from the obvious things like the steering on the other side and the fact they have no doors, it is just very different ergonomically.

"The steering wheel is really close as are the pedals. Even in road course set-up they are very different. I'd like to drive one as they look like they'd be an interesting beast.

"Former driver Brett Bodine gave me a lap in the pace car earlier today and the track is just so undulating. The TV does not do it justice. At places the elevation changes are like we see at Bathurst, just on a much smaller scale."

After catching up with Ambrose and trying out the seat of his Ford Fusion Cup car, Winterbottom was briefly introduced to Petty who on hearing his Australian accent invited him to have lunch with him and the pair spent a long time engaged in a once-in-a-lifetime conversation.

The King praised Ambrose and Australian V8 Supercars driving stocks and also gave Ford's Australian star some tips about driving and longevity in the sport.

With more than 200 Cup wins, seven titles and seven Daytona 500 wins he is unparalleled in the world of NASCAR.

"To meet such an idol of world motorsport was a real honour and a privilege," Winterbottom said.

"He loves Australians and wonders why more haven't come across to do some of the road course races. It would be hard though as the cars are very different to what we have back home. While they were cool to see, I much prefer my Falcon V8 Supercar. It would be great to drive that around such a cool track as Sonoma."

Winterbottom was a guest of Ford Racing and got to take in the race from atop of the pit box of current points leader and fellow Ford driver Matt Kenseth.

Greg Biffle was the top Ford driver home in seventh one place ahead of Ambrose while Kenseth retained the series lead with 13th place.

MARK WINTERBOTTOM
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