(workingonmyredneck file photo)
Marcos Ambrose is known to go prospecting for gold in his spare time. However, this weekend Marcos will panning for gold in California while working at his day job, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. This weekend NASCAR rolls into California’s wine country, Infineon Raceway, for the first of two road course races on the venue for 2011.
Remember a year ago, it looked like Ambrose was going to get that first Cup victory at the Sonoma, Calif., track. But, while trying to conserve fuel while leading with the laps winding down, he shut down the engine, had trouble restarting it on the uphill leg to turn #2, and saw a group of contenders drive past as he sat still on the track.
He came back to finish sixth, behind winner, Mr. Five Time, Jimmie Johnson, but it was as frustrating a finish as anything he has faced since coming to NASCAR in 2006 in the truck series.
“I have lost enough sleep on (that decision),’’ Ambrose said as he contemplated returning to Sonoma this week. “Racing is all about split-second decisions. That one just didn’t go our way.’’
Ambrose, whose RPM #9 DeWalt Ford will be among the favorites on Sunday, doesn’t want to put too much pressure on himself. So he’s planning to spend some time this week on his newest hobby, panning for gold.
And what better place to do it than Northern California, home of the famed 1849 gold rush?
“I really enjoy just driving over to a few local areas near the racetrack that have some gold history and stuff like that,’’ Ambrose said. “It’s a good hobby to have. I can do research on the racetrack and then get out in the field when I travel around the country.”
Nevertheless, Ambrose’s primary focus will be to log his first Sprint Cup victory, especially since in 2010 he had this race in his hip pocket, until a gaff on his part occurred late in the race.
So Sunday, if Ambrose plays his cards right, he may strike gold in the state that started and fueled the greatest historic gold rush in US history!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!