CUP: Ambrose To Leave Team At End Of '10

Marcos Ambrose has decided to leave JTG Daugherty Racing at the end of the season, the team announced today.

The Australian driver, in his second full year of Sprint Cup racing for the team, is a disappointing 27th in the standings after finishing 18th last year in his first full season.

Ambrose has been with the team for five years – one season in the trucks, one in Nationwide and then three in Cup. Ambrose has recorded four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in Cup.

“After five years, I personally felt it was time for a change,” Ambrose said in a news release. “I have no firm plans of what will come next for me and my career.

“I would like to continue in NASCAR and finish off what I started, but I have not discounted returning to Australia. I’m grateful to JTG Daugherty Racing for giving me an opportunity to become a NASCAR driver and I wish them the best in the future.”

While he has no firm plans for 2011, Ambrose’s name has reportedly been mentioned as a possible driver to replace Kasey Kahne at Richard Petty Motorsports. With a career-best second at Watkins Glen last year, Ambrose nearly pulled off his first career Cup win at Infineon Raceway earlier this year but accidentally stalled his car while trying to save fuel late in the race.

Ambrose has two Nationwide victories, both at The Glen, driving for JTG Daugherty Racing.

“It has been a great five-year journey for me and JTG Daugherty Racing,” Ambrose said. “I am proud of being their driver and of what we have been able to accomplish together. I want to personally thank Tad [Geschickter], [his wife] Jodi and Brad [Daugherty] and the entire race team for everything they have done.

“Our plan is to complete the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with the same desire and commitment and end our relationship the same way it started with a positive attitude and the willingness to win. I will do everything I can to help JTG Daugherty transition into next year with their new driver.”

JTG Daugherty Racing is an affiliate of Michael Waltrip Racing and is based at the MWR shop. Team co-owner Tad Geschickter made the move to Cup with Ambrose after several years in what is now the Nationwide Series.

“Marcos is a friend and he is a great talent,” Geschickter said. “He will be an asset to his next team. While we hate to see him move on at the end of the season, we will remain focused on winning races with Marcos.

“We are excited about our company’s development. We have NASCAR’s greatest and most loyal sponsors, a growing fan base, and a steadily improving race team.” • Aric Almirola would like to drive for JR Motorsports next season after third-place run at ORP