Jack Daniel's Racing survives Sandown 500

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WARM UP – It was an excellent start for Jack Daniel's Racing in the 20 minute warm up with Rick Kelly posting the fourth fastest time of the session.

#15 Jack Daniels Racing
#15 Jack Daniels Racing

Photo by: John Maricic

Tim Blanchard started the session in the #7 car and put in several quick laps to post a personal best for the meeting so far.

In between the on-track action, the Jack Daniel's Racing team practised their pit stops and driver changes in preparation for the 500km race which is due to commence at 1.35pm.

Towards the end of the session Todd jumped behind the wheel of the #7 car and Dave Russell also swapped with Rick. At the very end of the session Dave ran wide at turn 4 and gently touched the tyre barrier. After being extracted by the marshals, he drove the car back to the pits where the team performed another pitstop and tyre change.

RACE – Confidence was high at Jack Daniel's Racing going into today’s 500km race after strong qualifying races and a positive warm up.

Dave Russell started the race in car #15 from position 5 and Tim Blanchard in car #7 from 17th. However the team suffered early minor setbacks when Dave Russell was forced wide and dropped a couple of spots to 9th and on the same lap Tim Blanchard ran wide in turn 10 and tumbled down the order to 25th.

With the deployment of the first safety car, Tim pitted for a splash of fuel and for the Jack Daniel's Racing crew to check for any damage. Tim returned to the fray in 23rd and worked his way forward to 17th by his first pitstop. Taking on fuel and tyres Tim returned in 24th place and once again worked his way back up to 17th once again when he pitted for the second time for fuel, tyres and a driver change on lap 70, with Todd Kelly now taking the wheel, returning to the track in 24th.

Dave Russell in the #15 car climbed back to 8th before pitting for fuel and tyres on lap 31, returning to the track just in front of the sister Jack Daniel's Racing car.

Dave continued to punch out good lap times and pitted immediately after the #7 on lap 70 for fuel, tyres and car to hand over to Rick Kelly, who returned to the track 23rd.

At the midway point of the race, lap 80, Rick was 12th and Todd 17th.

From there the race became rather processional with no safety car periods. Both drivers put in strong drives to finish with Rick crossing the line 12th after a long battle with Russell Ingall and Todd 18th while holding Alex Premat at bay.

Rick Kelly – “Today was a bit of a bummer as we got shuffled back early in the race and the car wasn’t ideal for us today and wasn’t as strong as yesterday. We had a really good battle with Russell Ingall, but there wasn’t much we could do. We made some changes early in the weekend that gave us good pace so if we keep moving in that direction, we should be able to have a good Bathurst”.

Todd Kelly – “It was a tough day and pretty hard work when you are driving around and end up 18th. Our pace wasn’t there and the strategy we employed knocked us around a little bit as we had to save a lot of fuel when we had the good tyres on. But now we will focus on Bathurst and try and do a better job”.

David Russell – “I was happy with today, I got a good start and settled into a rhythm but halfway through the stint it didn’t have the pace to run with the lead cars. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t cover a bit harder but I wanted to keep it clean and consistent and give Rick a good car for the second half of the race”.

Tim Blanchard – “It was an interesting race with a few issues early on. Once we got into our race pace we were able to move forward a bit and got up to 17th which is where we stayed for the rest of the day”.

Source: Jack Daniel's Racing

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About this article
Series V8SUPERCARS
Article type Race report
Tags blanchard, kelly, russell, sandown, v8supercars