- Terry Blount, ESPN Staff Writer
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Nationwide Series racer Marcos Ambrose will become a full-time Sprint Cup driver next season, thanks to a new partnership former NBA player Brad Daugherty has with JTG Racing.
Daugherty, now a NASCAR analyst for ESPN, has become a part-owner of JTG Racing. The team will be renamed JTG Daugherty Racing. It will continue to field two Nationwide Series entries, but add a full-time Sprint Cup entry next year with Ambrose at the wheel.
"I have a tremendous passion for racing," Daugherty said Tuesday. "This gives me another avenue to be involved in the sport. It's a big stake to do this at the Cup level, and I hope it opens doors in the sport for other minorities and women."
Little Debbie snack cakes will sponsor the car, which will use No. 47.
Ambrose, 31 and an Australian from Launceston, Tasmania, races for JTG in the Nationwide Series. He ranked 13th in the standings with three top-10 finishes in the No. 59 Ford.
"I can't think of a better partner to be involved with this team than Brad," Ambrose said. "He's a real racer. I hope I can deliver the results for him. We have a lot of hard work to do to get ready for 2009, but time is on our side. I'm just really excited to get started."
Ambrose also raced in the Cup event last month on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., finishing 42nd after a gearbox failure in the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing.
Daugherty, 42, previously owned a Craftsman Truck Series team and a Nationwide team (then the Busch Series). Robert Pressley won a Busch event in Daugherty's car in 1989. The late Kenny Irwin Jr. won two CTS events for Daugherty's team in 1997.
Daugherty, who grew up in North Carolina and followed NASCAR, was an All-American center for the University of North Carolina in 1986. He played nine seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA and was a five-time NBA All-Star.
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.