RICK KELLY EIGHTH AMID SANDOWN CHAOS
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has finished eighth in a chaotic final race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge in Melbourne, Victoria today.
It is the 15th top 10 finish for the season for Kelly, who now sits eighth in the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship Series standings, just 19 points behind Lee Holdsworth.
Kelly fitted his one set of softer Dunlop tyres under Safety Car shortly before the lengthy red flag that effectively split today's race in two.
The move was the right one in terms of strategy, but unfortunately for Kelly he lost several spots in pit lane as the Jack Daniel's Racing crew was forced to pit both its Commodores on the same lap when the Safety Car was first brought out, with Todd Kelly first in the order, and therefore, first to pit.
Todd Kelly started on the soft tyres and roared up the order from 15th to third. But when the red flag was brought out it allowed other teams to work on their cars during the stoppage, effectively dissolving the advantage the elder of the Kelly brothers had gained in the first part of the race.
Kelly refitted his soft tyres but was unable to challenge the leaders as he had in the first part of the race, falling to finish in 19th place.
James Courtney won today's race ahead of Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup.
The final two races of the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship Series will be held in two weeks time at the Sydney Telstra 500 in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct in New South Wales.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"We tried a few set-up changes different to what we would normally do today," said Rick Kelly.
"We learned a lot to be honest and we saw what our car was doing compared to the cars around us that we were racing.
"It was good to do that but it does hurt our pace a bit in some areas.
"It was another interesting race. We finished eighth. It was not an ideal weekend for our championship but a good learning and a step forward with car set-up.
"Everyone within our team just made slight errors this weekend, including the drivers. I've made several this weekend and I'm disappointed with that and it's cost us a few points.
"If we just tidy up all those little things it would get our car back up into the third, fourth, fifth range and we need to find just a little bit more pace to contend for wins. We're close.
"The red flag was probably a good thing for us. I got the chance to tell 'Swenno' (David Swenson - #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore Race Engineer) to talk about the changes we had made for the race, we made a few modifications and off we went.
"The pit stop in that race just before the red flag hurt us because we had to queue behind Todd and obviously we lost a good 10 seconds there and it put us several spots behind where we would have been.
"That cost us a little bit but that's what it's all about, a lot of crazy stuff went on in that middle part of the race and at least we've come out of it with a top 10 and a straight car."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"The strategy we had didn't really work out, which was a shame because I was really happy with my Jack Daniel's Commodore," said Todd Kelly.
"I tried to look after the softs at the start because not many others were using them. So I didn't push all that hard, trying to pluck people off one by one without wearing the tyres out.
"When we went onto the hard tyres and everyone was on the same tyres, the car was really good. I didn't have the pace of the two blokes in first and second but we were in third or fourth, trucking along competitively.
"At the end after the red flag we had to run the softs in the long final stint and we were just nowhere. We got crashed into a few times and bent all the front end.
"So a good car, but bad strategy and the red flag destroyed any chance we had of a podium.
"It was a bit weird sitting there on the grid during the red flag, seeing people work on in their cars changing dampers and all sorts of stuff.
"It was all a bit strange and I was standing there having a bit of a laugh at one point. It's amazing what you are allowed to do in that situation.
"You could almost drag your whole garage out onto the track and rebuild your whole car if you wanted to by the look of it.
"That's something that we need to be better prepared for next time. If your car is not good enough you could re-engineer it in that situation."
-source: kelly racing