Kelly brought home his Jack Daniel’s Racing Altima in 18th place in Sydney.
Rick Kelly has finished as the highest Nissan Motorsport driver in the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship – the return year for Nissan in top-level Australian touring car racing.
Kelly brought home his Jack Daniel’s Racing Altima in 18th place in Sydney, the final race of this year’s competitive championship.
Kelly was the most consistent of the Nissan Altima drivers across the course of the year, taking 12 top 10 results across the course of the season and finishing inside the top half of the field.
It was the best overall result of any of the new manufacturers in this year’s title.
Rick finished one place behind Jack Daniel’s team-mate Todd Kelly, who finished the year in 25th overall.
Caruso’s Norton team-mate James Moffat had a disappointing final race of 2013, failing to finish due to a driveline issue. After a competitive start to the season, including his history-making win at Winton in August, Moffat finished the year in 18th overall.
The V8 Supercars Championship heads into its off-season now, but it is just a 68 day break before the cars hit the track at Eastern Creek for the pre-season test (February 15).
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
“We were running really strong for the majority of the race, so it’s a real shame to finish down in 19th,” said Michael Caruso.
“The fuel burn on the Altima is still not as good as our rivals, but we know that and we were always venerable.
“We’ve got another big off-season, because we know we have some big gains to make and we know we have to launch into 2014 bigger and better.”
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
“A driveline related problem put us out today. I felt like I had a problem four or five laps prior to that. It was still shifting OK, but there was a strange noise after each shift,” said James Moffat.
“It’s very disappointing to end the season like that. We didn’t have a quick car as it was and I didn’t have much to fight with.
“It’s not good to have a Norton car finish on the sidelines again. It’s probably happened too many times in the back half of this season and it’s definitely something we need to improve on.
“We’ve had some get highs this year, including our win at Winton, so I need to thank Norton, Toshiba, Steadfast and Nissan for their fantastic support. I have full confidence that 2014 will be a much stronger year for us.”
Rick Kelly, #15 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima
“It was a difficult day today, the temperature was a bit higher, so it was more challenging in the car, but it was still a good race and I’m happy I brought the car home,” Rick Kelly said.
“I followed big brother home towards the end and he just had a bit too much for us to try and sneak by, so he did a really good job.
“It’s been an interesting year and for me, I’ve been in the category for well over 10 years, and it was the biggest learning year that we’ve ever had as far as where we are with the car, and what we need to do to get it towards the front.
“We’ve had some highs, and we’ve had some lows, but I think we’ve punched above our weight a lot of the time with team work and a solid package, and a car that was good on days, but also tough on days with the straight line speed.
“When you look at the championship, there are a lot of cars behind that probably had more speed than us, so you have to be happy with that and keep focused on next year and where we can improve.”
Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima
“That was a tough race out there and a lot hotter than yesterday, the set of tyres I had in the middle stint felt really bad and I was all over the place, but the last set of tyres felt like they griped up a lot more,” Todd Kelly said.
“It’s was a tough day, as usual I ended up with a few other Nissans around towards the end, but it was good to come home and have all four cars nice and straight.
“If it wasn’t for a little bit of a fuel economy deficiency and the way those safety cars fell, we could have been a lot further up and we certainly had the pace to be further up than where we finished, so we’ll improve that for next year and have another go.”