Homage to a pioneer

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 22: Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Twisted Tea Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Will Schneekloth/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 22:  Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Twisted Tea Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Will Schneekloth/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 22: Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Twisted Tea Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Will Schneekloth/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C.—Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose is well aware of those who have preceded him, and it was no surprise he issued a statement earlier this week on learning of the death of fellow Australian racer Jack Brabham.

Ambrose’s father Ross Ambrose, co-founder of British race car manufacturer Van Diemen International Ltd., knew Brabham personally.

“My father knew the family a little bit,” Ambrose said. “I know David Brabham, and I guess the next generation of Brabhams, and now there’s a third generation of racers coming through, with David and Geoff’s sons coming through doing very, very well in their own racing careers. They are Australia’s version of the Petty family.

“The great thing about Jack Brabham was, not only was he a fantastic race car driver, but he built his own cars. He was the engineer, he was the mechanic, and he was the driver. To think of what he was able to achieve from very humble beginnings… He took himself to Europe and started his own company, building his own race cars for himself…

“Jack is certainly a big figurehead in Australian racing and paved the way for guys like me to go to Europe and have a go. He was a great man. I’ve met him a few times and was sorry to see him go, but he left a great legacy for Australian racing–no doubt.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.