Ambrose: Kelly will be a revelation in Sprint Cup

Marcos Ambrose tips fellow Taswegian Owen Kelly to surprise in Sprint Cup debut

Marcos Ambrose tips fellow Taswegian Owen Kelly to surprise in Sprint Cup debut

NASCAR mainstay Marcos Ambrose has pledged his seal of approval for compatriot Owen Kelly’s plunge into his maiden Sprint Cup start next month.

In response to’s breaking story announcing Kelly’s breakthrough start in the NASCAR main game at Watkins Glen next month, Ambrose has declared that his fellow Taswegian is capable of having a big impact.

“ I am very proud of Owen to make it to the NASCAR Cup series. He will be a surprise to a lot of people out there and I am sure he will do well,” Ambrose told

The single-event deal for Kelly to drive the #51 Phoenix Racing entry has come after his impressive fourth place in the Nationwide race at Road America recently.

Kelly has made the most of being a ‘gun for hire’ in recent times. In 2011 he qualified Ambrose’s Nationwide car at Montreal in ninth place. Ambrose then steered the car to victory in the race.

The 36-year-old Kelly has become something of a super sub, making a good fist of being hired for drives in a variety of disciplines while not being pinned to a full-time gig.

Owen Kelly

Owen Kelly

“He has worked really hard to get this opportunity,” Ambrose acknowledged.

“He will not have that much time to get used to the extra power and handling characteristics of a Cup car with the format of the weekend, but I will give him few pointers to give him a head start, but not too many in case he outruns me!”

Kelly recalled the Montreal duties two years ago with fondness as his Sprint Cup deal was announced.

“I said to Marcos when I qualified his car at Montreal and he went on a won the race and we were getting some photos taken I said – ‘this is pretty cool isn’t it,” Kelly recalled.

“…A couple of guys from Tasmania who used to bash each other’s sidepods off in go-karts when we were 10 years old. It was a pretty good moment.

“Certainly to be on the grid with Marcos at Watkins Glen will be a big achievement for me and to be out there with Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart it will be huge.”

A week after Watkins Glen, Kelly will again be charged with handling the #54 Toyota of Kyle Busch in the Nationwide Series race at the Mid Ohio circuit.

Kelly is expected to travel to the US this week for a seat fitting with the Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Phoenix Racing team for his Sprint Cup assignment.

VIDEO: Kelly confirmed to race at Watkins Glen

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