Winton Motor Raceway
RICK KELLY RISES TO THIRD IN POINTS WITH FOURTH AT WINTON
Jack Daniel’s Racing driver Rick Kelly has jumped to third in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship points standings after a fourth place finish at Winton Motor Raceway near Benalla, Victoria today.
It was a strong comeback for Kelly and his crew, who have been working hard to improve the set-up of the Jack Daniel’s Commodores in practice and qualifying so far this weekend.
I’m stoked with the team. Everyone can have a smile now.
Changes made by Kelly and #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore Race Engineer Adam Hardy paid dividends in today’s 40-lap race, giving Kelly confidence for tomorrow’s second race.
Starting from 12th place, Kelly was pleased with his car speed in the early stages, leading to Hardy making the call to pit early, allowing them to gain track position but forcing them to run longer on the soft Dunlop tyres than planned.
With the tyres holding on well and his pace strong, Kelly was able to score his fifth top 10 finish for the season, rising from sixth to third in the points standings after 10 races so far this season.
Brother and team-mate Todd Kelly had his chances end at the first corner when hit by another car, causing a puncture on the front left tyre on his #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore.
Todd Kelly was forced to pit for a new tyre at the end of the first lap, the addition pit stop meaning he could only drive on to collect 21st position.
Jamie Whincup won today’s opening race ahead of the weekend ahead of Lee Holdsworth and Steven Johnson.
JACK DANIEL’S RACING QUOTEBOARD:
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore
“I’ve been giving ‘Geeza’ (#15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore Race Engineer Adam Hardy) a hard time all weekend,” said Rick Kelly.
“We had struggled for pace until then, but the Jack Daniel's Commodore he gave me for that race was a really, really good race car.
“He put a lot of work into that and it turned out absolutely for the best.
“We made a strategy change in the race. We hadn't planned to pit when we did but the car was that good that we decided to come in early, so we had to be really careful with the tyres to get to the end.
“We’ve been pretty disappointed since New Zealand because our results at Perth were not ideal by any means and we struggled yesterday (in practice).
“I’m stoked with the team. Everyone can have a smile now. We've got a car that's in the window, we've moved up to third in the championship and we've got to keep it going.
“I’m disappointed for (David) Reynolds. He had great pace and has been doing a great job all weekend.
“It looks like someone has hit from behind and he had to pit, which is unfortunate.
“The sad thing is that if someone hits you and damages your car, you have to pit to get it fixed. I didn't look like anyone got penalised but I'm sure they will look into it.
“I did my best to try and dislodge it because if I didn't he was going to have to come in. I wanted to be a little bit careful but I did my best. He tried to dislodge it himself and I couldn't do anything. I tried everything I could for him but I couldn't get it off.
“The good thing is that for tomorrow we have got good cars.”
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore
“There were not many people giving anyone much room at the first corner,” said Todd Kelly.
“I was trying to get through and the car to my left kept squeezing me until it popped my front left tyre.
“From there that was it. We were up the back and there is not much more you can do to drive through the field when you need to look after the soft tyres.
“We trucked along but it was bloody frustrating because without that kind of traffic in front with slower cars we could have pressed on quite well.
“We should have had the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore a lot further up the field but we were not up there because of that first corner.
“The plan for tomorrow is obviously to qualify better and hope for better luck.”