The Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercars team has endured the highs and lows of motorsport at Queensland Raceway today.
Jack Daniel’s Nissan driver Rick Kelly finished a fine fifth in the day’s second race, fighting off a hard-pressing Mark Winterbottom in the final laps to secure the top five spot.
Kelly’s 11th place in the earlier race made for a strong haul of points.
His Nissan team-mate Michael Caruso was having an even better day, qualifying second in his Norton-backed entry and launching a passing attempt on race leader Scott McLaughlin at Turn 6 on Lap 22. The pass ended in a clash that saw McLaughlin’s Volvo turned around.
Caruso was instantly handed a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident. He went on to finish 24th, adding to his 13th place finish in today’s first race.
For James Moffat and Todd Kelly, tyre problems left the pair with poor results in the first race, but they came back strongly in the second, finishing 13th and 16th respectively.
Tomorrow’s racing track time will include a 20 minute qualifying session at 12:55pm AEST before a 200km race at 3.50pm.
Rick Kelly, #15 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima
Race 23 Qualifying: 13th
Race 23 Result: 11th
Race 24 Qualifying: 6th
Race 24 Result: 5th
"It's been a really good race for us, we were really quite good in qualifying, above our expectations with the gains we made overnight", said Rick Kelly. The Nissan Altimas corner extremely well, and we have been able to capitalise on that this weekend. Both races were quite tough, 33 laps and only 6 corners, it doesn't sound that hard, but we were in battles the whole time in both races.
"I really enjoyed it, it's the first time this year I've been able to battle some top flight competitive drivers as well. In that last race I had a great battle with Mark Winterbottom, who had a quicker car. He drove well, but obviously he has the championship to move towards, and it allowed us to have a really good, fair battle out there.
"I'm excited by that, fifth for us is solid, and we have found a couple of strong progressions with the car as far as setups are concerned. It's sad for Michael (Caruso) and the Norton side of the pits the way their race ended up. He had the car to win that race, it obviously didn't pan out, but certainly it's looking very good for tomorrow."
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
Race 23 Qualifying: 18th
Race 23 Result: 13th
Race 24 Qualifying: 2nd
Race 24 Result: 24th
“We had a lot of speed today, and that has been very encouraging for the Nissan Motorsport team,” said Michael Caruso. Qualifying second was great, and my start wasn’t too bad and I was just plugging away at Scott (McLaughlin’s) lead. We had the coming together down at the last turn. I had a chat with Scotty and apologised to him. Obviously, the incident was not intentional. That’s racing. We’re out there, having a go and it is what it is. We’ll have to focus on tomorrow now.”
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
Race 23 Qualifying: 22nd
Race 23 Result: DNF
Race 24 Qualifying: 20th
Race 24 Result: 13th
“It has been a difficult day, and the whole weekend has been difficult too,” said James Moffat. My problems seem insignificant though, given that Michael (Caruso) was in a position to win that last race and copped some hard luck. It looked like a race win for him, which is disappointing for him and the team. I had a puncture in the first race with a couple of laps to go, and then in the second race, I felt like we were just wobbling around, but were able to make up some spots at the end.”
Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima
Race 23 Qualifying: 12th
Race 23 Result: 24th
Race 24 Qualifying: 16th
Race 24 Result: 16th
"It was an interesting race," said Todd Kelly. "I was watching the little Hornet out the front, (Michael) Caruso battling it away, as well as pushing as hard as I could. The race changed here and there, I had pace in places, but at the end I unfortunately got gobbled up and lost two or three spots when the tyres had really fallen off.
"I tried to have crack early on in the race and I probably used up too much car, but there is certainly plenty to look at, and hopefully we can have a much stronger day. It's a longer race, so we'll see what happens."