Surfers Paradise: Jack Daniel's Racing preview

KELLYS KEEN TO BEGIN LATE SEASON CHARGE ON THE GOLD COAST Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are keen to begin an end of season charge when they take on a gruelling new format at the Nikon SuperGP on the Gold Coast this ...

KELLYS KEEN TO BEGIN LATE SEASON CHARGE ON THE GOLD COAST

Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are keen to begin an end of season charge when they take on a gruelling new format at the Nikon SuperGP on the Gold Coast this weekend.

The brothers formed their own new team at the start of this season and after showing strong pace at both the V8 Supercar endurance events at Phillip Island and Bathurst, are now determined to put some impressive results on the board in their Jack Daniel's Commodores.

Rick Kelly sees these last four events of the season as crucial to building momentum to take into next season.

"It's critical for us to have strong races in these last four events because the teams that are strong in the last four events of one season are often one of the leading teams at the start of the next year," said Rick Kelly.

"We need to finish 2009 strongly to start 2010 strongly."

"In the last two events we've been as 'pacey' as anyone, so now we just need to turn that into results. We're still not there yet and we've still got a bit of fine-tuning to do, but a result isn't that far away."

2006 Gold Coast event winner Todd Kelly says that the Kelly Racing operation is more motivated than ever after the pain of falling short at Bathurst.

"If a few things had have gone our way we could have been on the podium and potentially won those races," said Todd Kelly.

"We won our first race in the qualifying race at Phillip Island and we're both extremely happy with where the Jack Daniel's Commodores are at.

"Our goal has shifted quite a lot since prior to the endurance events as far as what we expect from ourselves at the track and that's really moved from development and working out what the car needs to going to an event to try and win it.

"We're more motivated than ever.

"We had a chat at the team last week with all of our guys and all we can do is put Bathurst down as the one that got away.

"We did everything we could on the day and we were good enough to do the job there but we just had way too many things thrown at us that didn't go our way through the day."

Todd Kelly, who also shared the 2006 podium with brother Rick as a result of Rick finishing third overall, says that the fast and treacherous Surfers Paradise street circuit is one of his favourites.

"It's an awesome place to do a really good lap," said Todd Kelly.

"You've got to rub the car on the walls on both sides to be fast and it's really enjoyable.

"We can't wait to get up there for the first time with our new team."

Due to the withdrawal of the A1GP, the V8 Supercars will now race over four 150 kilometre races at the Nikon SuperGP this weekend.

JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD

Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

QUESTION: How do you rate the Surfers Paradise street circuit in terms of being one of the toughest tracks on the V8 calendar?

"It's a very difficult track to pass on so qualifying is more critical at that track than any other," said Rick Kelly.

"It's a track I really enjoy. It's got a lot of different sections and you don't put a fast lap together there without scrapping the wall at least once or twice. That makes it a lot of fun.

"It's a place where I've had some pace in the past and brought home a surfboard (trophy).

"It's a different event for us. It's the only event where you get such a unique trophy and that's a lot of fun for the drivers and teams. Everyone wants to take home one of those surfboards."

QUESTION: How tough will the new format be on the drivers and teams?

"It's very hot on the Gold Coast and because it's such a closed-in track with the walls being so close, that just elevates the heat on the track and there have been people there in the past that have struggled with fitness with the heat inside the cars.

"So it's really a weekend where the coolsuit needs to be working and again, being at the front of the pack is going to help with that as well.

"We need to make sure we are as fit as we've ever been heading into this weekend, which we are. This event may catch a few people out.

"There is a big different between Bathurst temperatures at around 14 and now going to the Gold Coast with temperatures around 30."

QUESTION: Having two tough races on Saturday and then having to back up for Sunday makes your recovery on Saturday evening crucial. What do you do to recover to make sure you are good for Sunday?

"Saturday is your critical day. You need to make sure you are fit leading into it but you also need to make sure you eat properly and hydrate properly before Saturday's race.

"We even weigh ourselves before we start Saturday's first race to make sure that by Saturday night we are back to our original starting weight because the afternoon and evening on Saturday is critical for Sunday's event.

"Normally in the early laps on Sunday's first race you will see some people make mistakes and that's a thing that can make or break your weekend. So we're focused on making sure that we're strong on Sunday and some people might be a little be 'doughy' from all the work they've had to do the day before."

QUESTION: It's such a unique setting for a motorsport event. Do you enjoy the event or is it all too serious for you to take that in?

"It's a great event and the great thing about our championship is that we have events like Clipsal and the new event in Townsville and Sydney later this year. We have the endurance events like Bathurst and Phillip Island, races in Bahrain and New Zealand and every place you go to is different and unique in its own way.

"The Gold Coast is great as far as the party atmosphere goes and myself and Paul Dumbrell actually got up early last year and went down to the beach for a jog and a swim each morning before we went to the track.

"It's a different atmosphere and one that we really enjoy.

"It's been good in the past to race with other categories that race around the world but I don't think the absence of A1GP will take away from this event.

"It is a unique event and the track is a great street circuit and I personally really enjoy it.

"The event is one of the last four of the year and it's critical for us to have strong races in these last four events because the teams that are strong in the last four events of one season are often one of the leading teams at the start of the next year.

"We need to finish 2009 strongly to start 2010 strongly."

QUESTION: The early part of the year was a time of development and some growing pains for this new team, but the endurance races were something of a turning point for Kelly Racing. Do these last four races of the year represent the next stage of the development of the team?

"I definitely think so. Todd and myself have been quite realistic and quite open about our plans for this year leading into next year and we always said that we wouldn't be in the running for the championship this year, but we'd be strong and focused on the endurance races, which we were.

"We weren't able to grab a great result from either of them but that's just the luck of it. When we said we were developing new cars at the start of the year and we said we'd get it nailed at the end of the year and that's exactly what we've done.

"We've proven at the endurance races that we're fast and now we can just make little adjustments on the cars at these last four events and keep it simple and we will improve.

"In the last two events we've been as 'pacey' as anyone, so now we just need to turn that into results. We're still not there yet and we've still got a bit of fine-tuning to do, but a result isn't that far away.

"The task we have at hand for these next four race meetings is to get any last few bits and pieces done that we need to sort out for next year."

QUESTION: Does the pain of falling short at Bathurst motivate you to hit the ground running at Surfers right from first practice, or do you not really look to that as motivation?

"I think Todd and I and the whole team have probably been around long enough that when we go through the ups and downs, we don't let results like Bathurst and Phillip Island get to us too much.

"I think on Sunday night, everyone in the team was disheartened at not grabbing a result but we've had a long road to go down with starting a new team and getting to a position where we are comfortable.

"But we are there now. We're as quick as anyone, we're as strong as anyone. We've got cars as good as anyone, people as good as anyone and as good an opportunity as anyone.

"So we need to know that those facts are on the table and we'll turn that into results. We don't need any extra motivation or help now. We're there and that's the main thing for us, that all those boxes have been ticked now."

Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

"It's the right time of the year for us now because we've really got our cars sorted," said Todd Kelly.

"Both the Jack Daniel's Racing Commodores, with Rick and myself, are right where they need to be and Rick and I both love this track.

"It's an awesome place to do a really good lap. You've got to rub the car on the walls on both sides to be fast and it's really enjoyable.

"We can't wait to get up there for the first time with our new team."

QUESTION: This year the format has changed and it's really a very demanding set of races. How hard will that be for the drivers?

"Surfers is one of the hardest tracks that we go to, physically and mechanically it's extremely hard on the cars and the brakes.

"With the temperatures, it's quite hard physically, so it will definitely be the hardest race we have done at that track and it will sort the fit guys out from the guys that aren't so fit, especially on Sunday."

QUESTION: Given your pace at both Phillip Island and Bathurst, do you think that these last four events of the year are something of a turning point and a new stage in the growth of the new team?

"Well it's certainly given us a little bit of confidence. At Phillip Island and Bathurst we've had a car both Rick and I are extremely happy with.

"If a few things had have gone our way we could have been on the podium and potentially won those races. We won our first race in the qualifying race at Phillip Island and we're both extremely happy with where the Jack Daniel's Commodores are at.

"Our goal has shifted quite a lot since prior to the enduros as far as what we expect from ourselves at the track and that's really moved from development and working out what the car needs to going to an event to try and win it."

QUESTION: Does the pain of coming so close at Bathurst give you extra motivation for the Gold Coast?

"We're more motivated than ever.

"We had a chat at the team last week with all of our guys and all we can do is put Bathurst down as the one that got away.

"We did everything we could on the day and we were good enough to do the job there but we just had way too many things thrown at us that didn't go our way through the day.

"From people crashing into the back of the car and bending the wing, to getting black flags and having tyres delaminate and with all of that being thrown at us, we were still in a position to fight for the lead at the end of the race.

"All the boys are pretty pumped and we know we could have done the job there."

QUESTION: The Gold Coast event is very unique in itself with such a big crowd and spectacular setting. Do you enjoy racing as such a great event, especially being a past winner there?

"It's an awesome race."

"When you come onto that back straight, if you feel like it you can look out the window and watch the waves crashing on the beach.

"There are not many places where you get to do that. Phillip Island is one where you come over the crest on the main straight and you've got a view of the ocean.

"In a longer race you tend to get into a bit of a groove and you can pick up on things like that.

"It's a fantastic place and it's probably the best atmosphere that we have at any event we go to all year."

QUESTION: A1GP will not be at this event as was expected. Do you think it will still be a big event with all that atmosphere and the V8s still putting on a great show for all the Queensland fans?

"I think it will be as good an event as we've ever had there.

"There are a lot more races for us with our V8 Supercars and there is going to be a lot more action and I've got no doubt that we will put on a show that everybody will be pretty happy with.

"The V8 Supercar Series is really 'hotting up' now.

"We've got guys that are fighting for championships and guys like Rick and myself that have really come on in this second part of the year but are not a chance at the championship.

"We can afford to take a lot more risks than a lot of the cars around us so when it is like this, drivers like us try and capitalise on that at the end of the year and it produces awesome racing, especially at a place that's a concrete tunnel like Surfers.

"It will be a great spectacle."

-credit: kellyracing.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Todd Kelly , Paul Dumbrell , Phillip Island