RICK KELLY SCORES THIRD PLACE IN TREACHEROUS SYDNEY RACE
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has scored third place in a treacherous opening race of the Sydney Telstra 500 at the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit today.
Kelly scored his first podium of the 2010 season, rising to seventh in the championship standings with one race remaining, just 11 points behind sixth place.
It was a remarkable comeback for Kelly, who received a drive through penalty mid-race for contact with Paul Dumbrell in pit lane, dropping him to the tail of the field.
The 27-year-old then put his head down and worked his way back up through the field, rocketing up into the top five when on lap 60 a massive crash at Turn 5 in wet conditions saw the leading cars in the race, as well as many others, all crash out as rain descended on the 3.42-kilometre circuit.
Kelly then passed Fabian Coulthard to move into fourth place with just a handful of laps remaining, then advancing to third position on the final lap of the race to score Jack Daniel's Racing's first podium of the season.
Brother and team-mate Todd Kelly was the faster of the two Jack Daniel's Commodore in Sydney today, but luck went against him in today's race.
Earlier in the day, Todd Kelly qualified for his fourth Top 10 Shootout of 2010 with fifth fastest in qualifying, eventually finishing in seventh place after his Shootout run, his seventh top 10 starting position for the season.
Todd Kelly was one of the leading contenders all day and in fourth place when the race was restarted in wet conditions on lap 60.
On the approach to the fast Turn 5, Todd Kelly's #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore slid into the outside wall along with first placed Mark Winterbottom, second placed James Courtney, third placed Jamie Whincup, fourth placed Shane Van Gisbergen, fifth placed Craig Lowndes and sixth placed Will Davison.
The damage to Kelly's Jack Daniel's Commodore put him out of the race, cruelly robbing him of a podium finish and leaving him to cheer on brother Rick to third place.
Jonathon Webb won today's race, his first V8 Supercars Championship victory, ahead of Jason Bright and Rick Kelly.
The final race of the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship will be held tomorrow at the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit when another 250-kilometre race concludes the Sydney Telstra 500.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
Rick Kelly - Third Place Press Conference:
"It's been a little bit of a difficult year and I haven't been on the podium since Phillip Island in November last year," said Rick Kelly.
"I've scored a podium every year since 2002, where I hit a few things during my first year.
"It's very good to get this podium and we are very lucky, there is no doubt about that.
"We had a drive through penalty and went back to last and when the Safety Car came out we were last and then with the way the race and the strategy played out we were third, so I'm still wondering what was going on!
"PD (Paul Dumbrell) would have been laughing for three laps after that (contact in pit lane). There is no doubt his foot would have been buried in the throttle, that's what happens when you get an unsafe release.
"It's quite a narrow pit lane and I had a crew set-up straight in front of me. My team manager, Baz (Barry Ryan) initially sent me off and usually we would merge into the middle lane but with a team set up in front of me I went straight out and it was just a bit too late and we made slight contact.
"That's what happens in high pressure situations, there is no drama with that. We stuck with it and we got lucky.
"The Jack Daniel's Commodore is not too bad. I think we could have done a better job in qualifying. During the session when everyone that got up the front was on good tyres we had an older set on and we made a little error.
"I think tomorrow we should be a lot further up. We are certainly not the fastest car here, but we should be solidly in the top 10 and if it is wet we will be fine."
Comments on first podium for 2010 for Jack Daniel's Racing:
"It's awesome for the team," said Rick Kelly.
"We want to finish better than where we did last year (ED: Eighth in the 2009 championship). We want to sneak up to fifth but that is not going to be possible.
"There is such a big gap but we've snuck up to seventh and sixth is within our reach.
"I'm pretty happy with that. Our Jack Daniel's Commodore is reasonable, we had a couple of unfortunate errors that gave us a drive through and put us back.
"And then all of a sudden the rain hit and we got ourselves up to fifth, fourth and then third.
"I'm pretty stoked with that. It's great for the team and it's been a tough year, so to grab a podium at the last event is a little bit of a load off for us. It's a load off our mind and we will certainly attack tomorrow as hard as we can."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"We were trucking along alright out there and holding our own in the dry," said Todd Kelly.
"The Jack Daniel's Commodore was quick good when it was damp. We had a fair bit of pace there and it's quite hard to pass, but once people pitted or speared off in front of me I could blaze on and next car up the road.
"So we had plenty of pace and it was looking pretty good there. I was hoping to get my #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore on the podium and that was well within our reach.
"It was just a matter of surviving that first lap. A heap of cars in front of me at Turn 5, the left hander, all went straight into the fence and by the time I saw all the guys hit the fence right in front of me I was already committed to the corner and did exactly the same thing.
"So it was mega carnage then and it tore the right front corner out of it so it's a bit disappointing because we could have got a really good result there.
"It was great for Rick to get up there and score a podium.
"It was all about survival today and those guys did a good job in pretty difficult conditions.
"It would have been a hell of a day if we had both Jack Daniel's cars up there, so we will see how we go tomorrow."
-source: jack daniels's racing