Ambrose: Capturing American fans tough for V8 Supercars
Australia’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Star Marcos Ambrose warns that capturing the attention of American fans will not be easy for V8 Supercars as it heads to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, next weekend.
The V8 Supercars Championship’s first foray into the United States is a largely unprecedented example of a domestic road racing series importing its product into the oval racing-dominated motorsports scene.
The Austin 400 is also running on a weekend that clashes with NASCAR’s All-Star event in Charlotte, North Carolina, and pole-day for the Indianapolis 500 in Indiana.
“It’s a great sport and I wish them the best of success but it’s going to be tough,” Ambrose told Speedcafe.com in Darlington for this weekend’s Sprint Cup fixture .
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“These fans that we have, especially in NASCAR country, that’s all they understand. They understand dirt ovals and they understand NASCAR.
“Road racing is a very foreign thing and road racing in general here in the US has been floundering for a couple of decades.”
The V8 Supercars will be the fourth major series to grace the Circuit of the Americas.
Formula 1 and MotoGP attracted strong claimed weekend crowds of 265,000 and 130,000 respectively, although the domestic Grand-Am sportscar class drew a two-day attendance of just 27,000.
Ambrose confirmed that he will not fly to Austin following the Saturday night All-Star race.
“No, I think I might just hang out at the house and watch it on TV,” he said.
“It’s going to go live on television here so I’m looking forward to watching the racing and seeing how it all goes.
“The phone didn’t really ring. If I had a reason to go I probably would have gone,” he added.
V8 Supercars and the COTA yesterday continued their pre-event promotional push, with Australian rugby league great Wendell Sailor and NFL player Cedric Benson joining Austin 400 poster-boy, James Courtney, on a tour of the Texas capital.
See below for more with Ambrose on his own NASCAR Sprint Cup program