Marcos Ambrose wants your vote into the Sprint All-Star race May 17. And he’s willing to pay $25,000 for it.
The driver of Richard Petty’s No. 9 Ford said he will donate $25,000 of his winnings to Victory Junction, a camp for children with serious illnesses, if he’s voted into the all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The race is open to race winners from the past two seasons, as well as recent series and all-star champions. There also are two spots available to the top two drivers in the Showdown qualifying race, as well as the winner of a fan vote.
Ambrose doesn’t have a victory — although he has one more chance at Saturday night’s 5-Hour Energy 400 at the Kansas Speedway — so he may have to race his way in or win the vote of the fans.
The amount he pledged to the camp founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in memory of their son, Adam, followed a $25,000 fine issued by NASCAR last week for punching Casey Mears after the race at Richmond, Va.
Fans from the U.S. and his native Australia offered to contribute to pay the fine, and that gave Ambrose an idea to “pay it forward.”
“I had a tremendous outpouring of support after Richmond from so many fans,” Ambrose said. “But that situation was between myself and another driver. I had to pay the consequences from that, and my fans had nothing to do with what happened.
“But they have been so supportive of me in NASCAR, that maybe there was something we could do so they could make a difference. If they want to support me, they can vote for me, and we’ll take the total of the fine and pay it forward to Victory Junction.”
While Ambrose’s intentions are well-placed, he faces a difficult task in beating fan favorite Danica Patrick in the vote.
Fans can vote online at NASCAR.com.
Good for business
While the economy has been slow to recover, business is picking up for NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer.
All three got sponsorship deals in the last week.
NASCAR got a seven-year extension from Camping World to remain as title sponsor for the truck series on Monday. Earnhardt got a three-year commitment from Nationwide Insurance last Friday. Bowyer signed an extension with 5-hour Energy and Michael Waltrip Racing on Monday.
Bowyer’s deal is through the 2017 season and includes crew chief Brian Pattie.