|Marcos Ambrose not returning to Richard Petty's team in 2015.|
JOLIET, Ill. –- Richard Petty Motorsports officials have announced that driver Marcos Ambrose will not return as driver of the team's No. 9 Ford in 2015.
Ambrose, a native of Launceston, Tasmania and a two-time winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, had said earlier this season that he had not decided if he would remain in the U.S. to continue his racing career.
"I never thought I would achieve what I have at the Sprint Cup level," Ambrose said following Saturday's first practice at Chicagoland Speedway. "I have survived here for years … I have had some wins, but not enough and I feel like I was up against it early on from my background. I came from a country that doesn't have any asphalt oval racing at all so I feel like I have achieved a lot and am really satisfied."
A former Australian V8 Supercar champion, Ambrose began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in 2008, making starts for Wood Brothers Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing.
He spent the 2009-10 seasons with JTG Daugherty before making the move to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011.
|Ambrose celebrates his 2012 Sprint Cup victory at Watkins Glen.|
Considered among the most talented road racers in NASCAR, Ambrose scored both his Sprint Cup wins at Watkins Glen. In addition to 18 career top-five finishes, 44 top-10s and three poles, Ambrose won five times in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, four at the Glen and once at Montreal.
Ambrose said he felt his NASCAR career had "plateaued," and that it was time to move on.
"I've always said that if I felt like I had flattened … my learning curve or success, that I was only in the U.S. to win and if I wasn't able to contend like I want to, then I need to look at my situation and that has been the case.
"It has been a tough couple of years on the race track for me and the personal situation is clear and I just think the timing is right to go home."
RPM officials say they are currently evaluating their driver options for 2015 and beyond.
|Aric Almirola scored the lone win for RPM in 2014 in July at Daytona.|
In addition to the No. 9 team of Ambrose, RPM also fields the No. 43 Ford with driver Aric Almirola.
Almirola, a winner at Daytona in July, is making his first appearance in the Chase For The Sprint Cup, which kicks off this weekend at Chicagoland.
"Marcos will always be a part of our extended racing family," team co-owner Richard Petty said. “He came over to the United States with his family and dedicated his time here to giving it the best he had each week.
"I couldn't ask anything more from Marcos and his commitment on and off the track to our race team and our partners. Away from the track, he’s a family person first. That's something I respect and we'll miss Marcos, (his wife) Sonja and their children."
Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing, called Ambrose "family to all of us at Ford.
"He is a true racer and a Ford man through and through, from racing V8 SuperCars to NASCAR," Allison said. "We support Marcos and his personal decision to go home to Australia. We hope to celebrate together with him in Victory Lane before the end of the year and add to several memorable and exciting victories he has had with RPM here in NASCAR."
|Could Ambrose be off to work for Roger Penske's new Australian V8 Super Cars team?|
In July, Roger Penske told V8supercars.com.au that a Team Penske presence on the 2015 V8 Supercars grid would be "difficult but not impossible." But Team Penske President Tim Cindric told the site that its desire was to race in the Australian series.
In addition, Cindric said the team would be interested in Ambrose.
"If we have a picture develop there we would certainly like him to be part of it," Cindric told the site. "But the driver perspective would be something that comes secondary to a lot of other things."
On Saturday, Cindric tweeted: "Plan to have a teleconference on Monday at 9pm EST to give a @v8supercars update for the media. No further comments. Focused on the Chase now."