Hamilton: Jack Daniel's Racing preview

KELLY BROTHERS CONFIDENT AHEAD OF HAMILTON RETURN Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are confident that they can achieve top results in their return to Hamilton, New Zealand for the ITM 400 this weekend. Last season's Hamilton...

KELLY BROTHERS CONFIDENT AHEAD OF HAMILTON RETURN

Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are confident that they can achieve top results in their return to Hamilton, New Zealand for the ITM 400 this weekend.

Last season's Hamilton street race was only the second championship event for the Kelly Racing operation, but despite being only early days for their team, both Todd and Rick Kelly drove their Jack Daniel's Racing Commodores into Saturday's Top 10 Shootout.

With 12 months of engineering development and racing experience now under their belt, the Kelly brothers are confident of strong results in Hamilton this weekend, building on last year's efforts that saw both Jack Daniel's Commodores finish in the top 10 on Saturday.

Both drivers have previous form in New Zealand events at both Hamilton and the event's previous home at Pukekohe Park near Auckland, with Rick Kelly the event winner in Pukekohe at that circuit's final V8 Supercar event in 2007.

The Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates will also be keen to check out modifications to the fast chicane on the back straight of the Hamilton street circuit, which caught out several drivers in spectacular fashion last season, but both are undaunted by the tricky section of the circuit.

JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD

RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

"New Zealand always puts on a great event," said Rick Kelly.

"Both times I've been to Hamilton I've had good pace but haven't managed to get a great result.

"Last year I actually had food poisoning one night, which severely hindered the weekend because I was up all night.

"So I'm looking forward to going back and getting the most out of the my Jack Daniel's Commodore this time around.

"Last year I think we had a car strong enough to be in the top three but a couple of things let us down. One was the braking grip and that's one of the areas we have fixed and worked on since 12 months ago when we went there last time.

"As a team I think we are all quite excited to go back there where we already had reasonable pace and see how much exactly we've managed to improve the car.

"It's always good as well to go back to New Zealand. I normally head over a couple of days early and enjoy some of the scenery over there but this time we are going to stay over there a little longer after the event and go fishing with some of our friends from Jack Daniel's down at Taupo.

"So we're all pretty excited to head over there and it's always a good event with a lot of people.

"The changes to the chicane don't worry me. No matter what they do it's the same for everyone. It has certainly never been a track that has given us any grief. It's bumpy in a couple of places and that chicane is quite tight but that gives a track character and makes it enjoyable."

TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

"The Jack Daniel's Commodores were quite good at New Zealand last year," said Todd Kelly.

"They're changing the track only slightly this year so I don't think that will affect things too much.

"We've made a lot of improvements to our cars since we were there last so I'm really looking forward to getting there and seeing where we sit on the time sheet.

"We had both cars in the Top 10 Shootout at the Grand Prix and although it wasn't for points I think we should be aiming to achieve that more often than not this year.

"The back straight chicane at Hamilton caught a few people's attention last year.

"Especially in qualifying and the shootout, a few people were up on two wheels and smacked the mirror on that wall.

"So until we get there and see where they have moved the wall, we don't really know the effect it will have until we do our first laps in the car.

"There's still going to be a good chance you could clip the wall there. It all depends on the line you take through there.

"It is certainly a hard place on the cars and if you hit that kerb the wrong way, you could bend the steering on the car all on your own.

"It's a challenging place and you need to get certain parts of the track right to be fast around there. There might not be much run-off around there but we're still going flat out the whole time."

KEY FACTS:

- Todd and Rick have good form in New Zealand races ...

* The New Zealand leg of the V8 Supercar Championship Series was hosted at Pukekohe Park outside of Auckland from 2001 to 2007 and was a happy hunting ground for the Kelly brothers

* Rick Kelly won the final Pukekohe race in 2007 as well as winning that year's New Zealand event overall

* Todd Kelly also has a race win at Pukekohe, coming from Race 3 in the 2002 event. Todd stood on the podium at the 2003 event with third overall

* Since the event moved to the streets of Hamilton in 2008, Rick Kelly has finished in the top 10 in four out of the five races held

- New Zealand influence for Jack Daniel's Racing ...

* The Kelly brothers may proudly operate an Australian owned race team, but there is undeniable Kiwi influence with four employees of New Zealand heritage all a crucial part of the team

* Aaron Zampese (Number 1 mechanic on Todd Kelly's #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore) is a native of Hamilton, New Zealand

* Other Kelly Racing crew who hail from New Zealand are Brett Kennedy, Tim Keegan and Ben Eckstein

-source: kelly racing

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Todd Kelly