TODD KELLY SCORES FIRST PODIUM OF 2009 WITH SECOND IN PERTH Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has scored his first podium of the season and collected his first trophy for Kelly Racing with second place in the opening race of the Bigpond...
TODD KELLY SCORES FIRST PODIUM OF 2009 WITH SECOND IN PERTH
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has scored his first podium of the season and collected his first trophy for Kelly Racing with second place in the opening race of the Bigpond 300 at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth today.
Kelly was the first Holden Commodore across the line in the 42-lap race, scoring his first podium finish since Symmons Plains last season.
Jack Daniel's Racing has now scored podium finishes in three consecutive races, with Rick Kelly finishing third and second in the two races held at Phillip Island two weeks ago.
Todd and brother Rick Kelly are now equal on 26 career podium finishes each, with some friendly sibling rivalry now building as the pair look to bolster their new team's trophy collection.
Todd Kelly qualified in second place aboard his #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore and then was fifth fastest in the Top 10 Shootout.
Kelly then used his soft compound Dunlop 'option' tyres for the first half of the race, switching to the harder control tyres on lap 22, driving a smooth and consistent race to collect an impressive result.
Rick Kelly narrowly missed the Top 10 Shootout, running off the track at Kolb Corner with five minutes remaining in qualifying, slightly delaying his final run at a quick time and leaving him stranded in 11th position.
He then charged through the field to be fifth by the end of the second lap, starting the race on his soft compound 'option' tyres and then switching to the harder tyres on lap six, saving his softs for tomorrow.
Jamie Whincup won today's race ahead of Todd Kelly and Mark Winterbottom, with a further 84-lap race to be held tomorrow.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
Post-Race Press Conference ...
QUESTION: You must be pretty happy with second place?
"It's been a while. I've been chasing that trophy all year and like I said out on the podium, when you work so hard for something it's a hell of a lot more rewarding.
"The boys have done a magic job to start the team at the beginning of the year and to end up racing guys and being on the podium towards the end is what we said we wanted. But we were a little scared about whether we would be able to pull it off when we said that we would like to be in a position to win races by the end of the year.
"So to be able to achieve that is huge, because we don't have the budgets and the infrastructure of a lot of the teams we are competing against. So it means a lot. It's a great day for the boys.
QUESTION: It certainly means a lot to your team. I was watching the team on the track post-race and they really are embellishing and absorbing it. There is a really good vibe of positivity around Kelly Racing at the moment, isn't there?
"Yeah and it's taken a lot of work. A lot of people don't know but we've been through a few staff members this year and it takes a lot of work and a lot of effort to get the right group of people.
"I've been doing this for 10, 11, 12 years now and have been in a lot of teams and to have a group of guys connect like that, especially when you are twice the size of most teams, to get twice as many people to mould together like that is pretty difficult.
"For us to be in that position now is incredible and it makes a huge difference. We've got a great bunch of guys."
QUESTION: Rick also finished well inside the top 10 in seventh spot and he's seventh in the championship. Pre-season your objective was to try and finish in the top eight in the championship so you're certainly on target there. You have your own Chase-style points score - are you fulfilling the expectations you have for the last few races?
"Well one of us is (laughs). Since we started our own little championship, I was right at the back of the field after Indy and at the back of the field after Phillip Island, so I'd like to start it again now. If Rick doesn't mind ... I'll have to have a chat with him."
(ED: taking just the past four races into account - two from Surfers, two from Phillip Island - Rick has scored the third most championship points of all drivers. Kelly Racing is calculating the points post-Bathurst internally to judge its late-season form).
QUESTION: Todd can you just elaborate a bit on how difficult it's been putting up with the failures and doing all the development before finally getting the reward you have at the moment?
"It has been hard but that's what we do. When Rick and I got into the sport when we were 16, 17 years old, it was the same thing. Back in Mildura we worked on our own cars and the other guys rolled into the teams with their money and had awesome cars from previous years.
"It's always been tough so getting into the sport was a little bit like that so we're no strangers to it. When you go through that and there is a light at the end of the tunnel there is nothing that you can ever do that is as rewarding as that.
"Basically all the team now thinks the same way. They've worked harder than most in pit lane and now with a little bit of success it means a lot to them as well."
Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"For us today was a reasonable day," said Rick Kelly.
"We were just trying to edge our way towards fifth in the championship. We had Steven Johnson finish behind but Mark Winterbottom finish in front.
"It wasn't too bad for us and we still have some credit left on our soft compound tyres.
"Qualifying today again let us down. I made a mistake and it put us back in 11th.
"We still have good tyres for tomorrow so we are probably in a reasonable boat there and if we get a good qualifying run tomorrow and pick the right soft tyre strategy then we should be able to finish in front of those guys."