A balky back will take Greg Murphy out of the seat of the #51 Pepsi Max Crew Commodore for this weekend’s SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercars event at Hidden Valley in Darwin, and he will be replaced for the second time this year by David Russell.
Russell took over the #51 Holden at Symmons Plains when Murphy’s back gave him problems, but suffered a DNF and a 21st-place finish in his two outings. Russell has already been tabbed to partner with Rick Kelly to run the endurance races at Sandown and Bathhurst, and is also competing in the Dunlop Series, which is a feeder series to the V8s.
"I've got a job to do for the Pepsi Max Crew and will grab this second opportunity with both hands," Russell told Big Pond Sport. "The Pepsi Max Crew have a huge activation underway in Darwin and I'll be doing my best to put the #51 as far up the grid as possible."
Murphy appears to be sidelined for the next three months with the injury, and is tentatively slated for surgery this week. The team appears to be looking throughout the paddock for replacements and has yet to commit long-term to Russell as the new driver in the #51.
"The Pepsi Max Crew partnership is one of the most dynamic and exciting programs in the category and we will look to ensure this unfortunate situation has a silver lining and extract some positives on and off the track," said Kelly Racing CEO John Crennan. "We can expect a series of exciting announcements in the coming weeks for Murphy's replacements."