Where are they now? Marcos Ambrose re-energized, reinvigorated in his native Australia

first_imgPhoto courtesy Thousand Lakes Lodge“(Building the lodge) was part of that sea change. It was part of just resetting the clock. I spent so long in the concrete jungle of NASCAR and it’s a fast-paced life. You’re in a jet to get to the track, you’re in a car driving down the motorway to get to the track. You’re at the track, you’re racing your race car, you’re sleeping in a motor home, there’s just generated noise and concrete and so I think I just needed to just get back to basics.“So I thought it was a good idea at the time to go and build this wilderness lodge and I’ve really enjoyed doing it. It was actually really good for my soul to sort of just get back to nature a little bit and to do something very different.“There’s quite a few, myself and Carl Edwards are a couple of examples. You just get to a stage where you’ve just got to make a decision and you’re either in or you’re out, you can’t be half in or half out. Sometimes you just got to make the cut. And for me, I had a young family and I wanted to raise them. My body and my brain was saying, ‘Hey, you just need to stop what you’re doing here.’ And so that’s kind of where it was.”********************************One of the happiest memories of Ambrose’s career in NASCAR was how American fans embraced him, something that continues to this day. When asked if he was humbled by how fans responded to him, how they still send him letters and emails and how they still are curious what he’s doing these days, a broad smile once again stretched across Ambrose’s face.“Yes, yes and yes,” he chuckled. “To race at the top level is tough. But then to not create enemies and for people to enjoy what you do, for me, that’s even better. Americans, they generally love Australians and the Australian way of life. So I was fortunate to be Australian and racing in NASCAR, embraced that, and people embraced that for me. All I tried to do when I went to the race track was just try my best and to have a red hot go of it.“I appreciate that people still think of me in those circles. It sort of does reinvigorate me to say, ‘Hey, what are you doing down in Tasmania, you should be doing something more.’ So maybe I’ll get back engaged a bit more quickly and I’ll see you guys soon.”To hear the full interview with Marcos Ambrose, check out The Racing Beat on the BLEAV Podcast Network (BLEAV.com) and your favorite podcast platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and more.RELATED: Where are they now? Mark Martin enjoying less competitive retirement lifeThe Marcos Ambrose file:* Age: 45* Hometown: Launceston, Tasmania* NASCAR Cup Series career (2007-2014): 227 starts, 2 wins (both at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012), 18 top-five and 46 top-10 finishes* Highest single-season Cup finish: 18th in 2009 and 2012* NASCAR Xfinity career: 77 starts, 5 wins, 9 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes* NASCAR Truck Series career: 22 starts, 0 wins, 2 top-five and 4 top-10 finishes* During his NASCAR career, Ambrose drove for Hall of Famers Richard Petty and the Wood Brothers, as well as JTG-Daugherty Racing, Robby Gordon and Michael Waltrip. When he left NASCAR to return to race in the Supercars Series in Australia, he drove 10 races over two seasons (2014-2015) for another legendary team owner, Roger Penske, before officially retiring from all forms of racing.* Won back-to-back Australian V8 Supercars Series championships in 2003 and 2004. When longtime NASCAR fan favorite Marcos Ambrose decided to end his nearly 25-year racing career, he sought to get as far away from race cars and race tracks as he could.Boy, did he ever.Having left NASCAR after the 2014 season, Ambrose moved his family literally halfway around the world, roughly 10,000 miles away from the Charlotte area and back to his native Tasmania.To put that into a bit clearer context, Tasmania is an island state, 150 miles south of parent country Australia, and the last major land mass southward before reaching Antarctica — home of the South Pole.Roughly the size of West Virginia, much of Tasmania is pristine wilderness, with a population of less than 550,000. And it’s back in his native land that Ambrose has once again found peace, happiness and not surprisingly, has rediscovered his love of racing. Only now it’s primarily as a teacher/coach and crew chief for daughters and aspiring go-kart racers Tabitha and Adelaide.“My racing career was coming to the point where I needed to come back to Australia for personal reasons,” Ambrose said in an interview with NASCAR.com. “I got out of racing, it was just time for me to stop, really. Raising a family was really important to me and being a good dad and a good husband.“So we’ve done that. And my girls now are 13 (Adelaide) and 15 (Tabitha), so they’re well on their way and I’ve really enjoyed my time with them.”RELATED: Marcos Ambrose career statsWhile Adelaide is in the early stages of her racing career, older sister Tabitha has shown great promise and, like her father, already possesses great skill behind the wheel.So much so that the proud father envisions his oldest daughter moving up to Australian “circuit and some speedway racing in the next year or two.” While he’s not ruling out Tabitha eventually following in his NASCAR footsteps, he’s also not rushing her development, either.“Racing’s just so great for kids,” Ambrose said. “It teaches them a lot of stuff about life, how to be a good loser, victories, working hard, putting in effort, and taking a bit of risk as well.“Racing has just been great to me in my life and now Tabitha has really taken to it. We support her and what she’s doing, but she’s going to have to make it on her own. And if she wants to go down a path of racing cars, she’s going to have to find a way. We’re certainly happy for her to be going down that road and we support where we can.”Tabitha’s exploits have reignited Ambrose’s own love of racing. While he no longer climbs behind the wheel, Ambrose recently became crew chief in the Australian TA2 (Trans-Am) Series for friend and driver/team owner Owen Kelly, who has driven several late model and NASCAR Cup and Xfinity races in the United States for, among others, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports.*************************************Even though he lived halfway around the globe, Ambrose had long aspired to one day compete in NASCAR, and set out to climb a racing ladder that eventually saw him achieve that goal.After starting out in his native land, he moved to Europe and raced in the Formula Ford Series in the mid-to-late 1990s, competing against soon-to-be Formula One stars Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and the late Dan Wheldon, as well as someone he would eventually renew an on-track rivalry with in NASCAR, Danica Patrick.Ambrose learned his lessons well in Europe; he returned to Australia and won back-to-back Supercar championships in 2003 and 2004.After one more season in that series, he moved to the United States and began competing in 2006 when JTG-Daugherty Racing owners Tad and Jodi Geschickter gave Ambrose the opportunity he had coveted for so long.“Without Tad and Jodi, I would never have made it to NASCAR,” he said.While he won two races in NASCAR’s premier Cup Series, both at Watkins Glen International (2011 and 2012), those victories are not No. 1 on Ambrose’s his list of career achievements.“Winning races, yeah, that’s great but it’s a fleeting moment,” Ambrose said. “But to make it to a full-time (NASCAR) Cup driver, for me was the highlight of my career because it is so competitive and the quality of drivers and the teams. Coming from overseas into that American-dominated sport, it was just a big thing. I’m really proud of my time.”In addition to being forever grateful to the Geschickters for taking a chance on him, Ambrose has great love and appreciation for NASCAR legend Richard Petty, for whom he drove in the final four seasons of his Cup career (2011-2014).“Richard is just one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met and I got to know,” Ambrose said. “He’s so full of wisdom, was such an incredible race car driver, a storied family in racing, such a humble guy and nice person, nice family. (Richard’s former crew chief, Dale) Inman’s the same. Robbie Loomis was there when I first came in, Sammy Johns, just so many wonderful people inside that organization. It’s just incredible to think that I drove for him and I respect him so much and the family so much.“I’ve got so much respect for racing families that have been doing NASCAR for three and four generations now and what they’ve gone through and what they’ve done. They’re part of the fabric of NASCAR and that’s what makes the sport so great, those kind of people. I was privileged to have known Richard and to race for him.”After leaving NASCAR and a brief 10-race return to Australian Supercars at the end of 2014 and into 2015, Ambrose turned away from racing because he had gone through burnout — and not the kind of burnout that he experienced after all the races he won in his career.“When I left America, I just cut the cord,” he said. “That was just a way for me to actually just handle leaving NASCAR and leaving North America. We just had to start a new chapter in our lives.”That included withdrawing completely from social media.“I really stood away from (racing) big time,” he said. “We just turned the tap off. To be honest, my life’s always been about racing. I’ve been racing since I was 15. It was a huge push to go to Europe, and then make a career back in Australia, and then start again and go to America.“And then (nearly) 10 years of NASCAR on your own, I didn’t have the infrastructure around me, the family around me, and I think I just burned out. I think that was part of my issue. When I came back to Australia, I thought I could still drive for Roger (Penske in Supercars) and do the racing thing. And really, I just couldn’t. My brain was just saying, ‘No, you have to stop and just reset.’ And I think that’s what I’ve done over the last six years. That was part of the closing of my social media accounts and everything, just sort of giving your brain a rest and just changing up what you were doing.“I just felt like I took on so much burden that I just needed to stop and break that. We’re six years out from that and now I feel much better. I feel like I’m back to my old self.”Ambrose is still young enough to wheel a race car. When asked if he’d consider it, he flashes the same kind of big smile that made him such a fan favorite in NASCAR, and quips, “You know, it’s probably time for that six- or seven-year itch, isn’t it?“I do miss racing. … Tabitha and Adelaide getting into racing has reinvigorated me in the sport. And so we’ll just see where it goes from here.“We’re actually now in the process of reopening my social (media) pages. We’re doing it really to help Tabitha and to re-engage in the community. I’m doing the crew chief thing now and I’m back at the race track contributing where I can and I’m really enjoying that. I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience in racing and the cars that I’ve been setting up have been going quite well so I’ve enjoyed that as well. So we’re sort of just re-engaging now into motorsport.“I’m sure I could jump back in and do some training and do some testing and be back to somewhat of my former glory, but I haven’t tried, and it just hasn’t been on my radar.”*********************************Ambrose has not returned to the United States since he left nearly seven years ago. But fond memories are still fresh in his mind.“I do miss the NASCAR community and the friendships that I built in there and in America,” he said. “I certainly have a lot of friends in the garage that I’d love to see again. I’d love to re-engage. So yes, I certainly miss it, a great part of my life. Nearly 10 years of my life was on the NASCAR circuit. And yeah, it’s fond memories.“We’d love to come back. … Once COVID gets under control and everything, hopefully we can come back, especially with Tabitha now showing some interest in racing. I think North America would be a great place for her to go.”Since leaving NASCAR, Ambrose has become a successful businessman. He owns several commercial properties in Tasmania, with his pride and joy being Thousand Lakes Lodge, a resort he built in the remote outback for folks who like to rough it during the day but enjoy returning for luxury and pampering at night.“I’ve really enjoyed doing that,” Ambrose said. “It’s an old Antarctic Training Center up in the mountains. It really is a wild place with wombats and Tasmanian devils, voles and things like that and lots of bushwalking. So that’s been good.last_img read more

Pan-Seared Polenta And Goat Cheese Cake With Braised Pears And Figs

first_imgIngredients (serves 4)8 oz polenta4 oz goat cheese4 pears (peeled and sliced)2 oz butter1 8 oz can, pear nectar1 bay leaf1 shallot (minced)6 figs (quartered)1 pinch cinnamon4 oz olive oilSalt and pepper to tasteDirectionsFill a large pot with a two-to-one ratio of water to polenta and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, add the minced shallot and bay leaf, then slowly pour in the polenta while whisking it in. Once you have added all the polenta, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to stir often. Do this for an hour, then whisk in the butter to get the polenta to the right consistency.When the polenta is finished, pour half of it into a deep baking dish and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow it to cool slightly, then remove and crumble the goat cheese over the top. Once done, pour in the rest of the polenta, and smooth with a spatula to even out the mixture. Then, place in the fridge for an hour.While the polenta cake cools, start braising the pears and figs. Bring one cup of water and the can of pear nectar to a simmer, then add the cinnamon and place the pears in the hot liquid. Let them cook at a low simmer for rest of the time the polenta is cooling. Add the figs at the end and let them cook in the liquid for about 15 minutes.When the polenta is set, cut it into four square pieces. Heat a large sauté pan and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, fry the polenta cakes for about seven minutes on each side. Plate the dish with a healthy portion of the braised pears, figs, and of course, some of the braising liquid. Sharelast_img read more

Too Late For East End Census Count?

first_imgThe gap between the national response rate of residents having already filed a 2020 Census form, mostly online, and that of residents on the East End is rapidly growing. This problem is particularly acute in East Hampton and Shelter Island, though Southampton and Southold towns are also lagging behind.As of the morning of April 5, the U.S. Census Bureau received a completed form for 44.5 percent of all houses in its national address registry. Contrast that figure with the 16.1 percent response in East Hampton, 20.7 percent in Southampton, 22.9 percent in Southold, and just 3.1 percent response rate on Shelter Island. Riverhead, which gets most, if not all of its messages from the Census Bureau via USPS, is much closer to the national rate, reaching 38.1 percent as of April 5.The gap for the four East End townships that will be affected has been widening. On March 29, the national response rate was at 33.1 percent, while East Hampton stood at 9.8 percent.The growing issue is caused by the Census Bureau’s methodology on the East End, and its apparent failure to plan for an epidemic or pandemic like COVID-19.Most of the nation is contacted by the Census Bureau through the U.S. Postal Service, which has continued operating through the pandemic. But the postal service is not used by the Census Bureau across large parts of the East End. Instead, in an operation called Update Leave, all contact between the bureau and residents of about two thirds of East Hampton, and half of both Southampton and Southold, as well as all of Shelter Island, is done in person by Census workers.That operation, which was supposed to begin nationwide on March 15, has been suspended as a result of the novel coronavirus.Update Leave is employed in areas where the bureau believes there is a large number of second homes, or where mail is not delivered directly to houses.And the crisis is not isolated to the East End. Nationally, there are about five million households that are contacted through Update Leave. That includes two large areas of upstate New York, where either part or all of entire townships are counted under the program. The response rate for most of them sits between 3 and 15 percent.On the national level, Shelter Island and Puerto Rico have several things in common. Both are islands, entirely counted in 2020 via Update Leave, and have a current response rates well below 4 percent. But, while Shelter Island has an estimated population of a little under 2500, Puerto Rico has an estimated population of over 2.5 million.David McMillen, of Cutchogue, which is in Southold town, said as of Sunday he had not yet been contacted to be counted.McMillen is a statistician and former employee of the Census Bureau who went on to advise the oversight committees of the Census for both the Senate and House of Representatives. Local leaders, he said, are “overwhelmed” by COVID-19. Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is one of them.The impact of coping with the economic fallout from the virus is at the forefront of many residents’ minds. “Many people were living paycheck to paycheck,” Schneiderman said last week. “A lot of people don’t have money for food, money for rent.” He has been coordinating response efforts across the board to the current crisis and its effects, not just the Census, but with things like rapidly-growing food pantry lines.“A lot of people never needed assistance in any way,” he said. “Now, they do.”But when Schneiderman was told of the failing Update Leave Census operation, he said he became very concerned. The final numbers of the 2020 decennial Census will determine how money is spent, where money is spent, and the legislative representation of the entire East [email protected] Sharelast_img read more

Resonant to Supply SAW Based Quadplexers to the Chinese Market

first_imgResonant has signed a licensing agreement with a new client, who is an established provider of key components for the RF Front End (RFFE) market in China. The new license agreement covers the development and licensing of two Quadplexers that will be designed using a standard Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) process.The agreement will leverage existing SAW foundry partners, as well as backend and packaging partners, capitalizing on Resonant’s transformative position in enabling a fabless filter supply chain model to provide an alternative, stable and secure supply chain for the emerging module market in China. Design acceptance, milestone payments and royalty terms have been agreed upon, but will not be disclosed due to the confidential nature of such agreements.According to Resonant, the new client has an extensive customer base, which includes several Tier One handset vendors in the Chinese market. Working closely with their existing foundry partners, Resonant is using the fabless model to capitalize on the quickly expanding RFFE market, potentially disrupting the supply chain by enabling new market entrants with the potential for faster design times and lower cost.last_img read more