Focus shifts to Marcos Ambrose as Watkins Glen favorite

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 08:  Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 08: Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.—When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes to the road course at Watkins Glen International, Marcos Ambrose expects to be the center of attention.

“Certainly, I get talked about more, and people want to know what I’m doing,” Ambrose said Friday at the Glen, understating the case. “That’s a good thing. I don’t have any problem with that.”

Winner of Sprint Cup races at WGI in 2012 and 2013, Ambrose is expected to excel at the 2.45-mile road course. That doesn’t mean, however, that he expects to have an easy time in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

And though he’ll be under closer scrutiny than he is at oval tracks, Ambrose will try to keep his own focus as narrow as possible and concentrate on the task at hand.

“You just have to do the best you can,” he said. “I can’t change anything but how I drive the race car. That’s what I’ll focus on… You know it won’t be easy. There are going to be 10 to 12 guys out there that have a shot to win the race. You just know going in that it won’t be a cakewalk. It’s going to have to be a big grind to get the victory.”

Though Watkins Glen may give Ambrose his best chance at a victory and accompanying berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Australian driver will try to keep that thought away from the forefront of his consciousness.

“It’s an important weekend, no doubt,” said Ambrose, who was fifth fastest in opening practice and second to AJ Allmendinger in the final session. “You have to try to downplay that as best as you can coming in… You can only do what you can out there behind the wheel and let the racing gods work out whether it’s your day or not.”

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