RICK KELLY NINTH IN FIRST RACE AT SYDNEY TELSTRA 500
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has scored ninth place in the first race of this weekend's Sydney Telstra 500 at the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit in New South Wales today.
Kelly qualified in 11th place earlier today aboard his #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, quickly moving up the order in the opening laps of the race.
Kelly was in position to challenge for a podium finish in the first half of the race, but having to contend with pit lane congestion at both his pit stops put pay to any chances of another trophy for the 26-year-old.
The dual Bathurst winner is now just 15 points behind sixth place in the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series points standings with just one race remaining in the season.
Brother and team-mate Todd Kelly qualified 14th and finished in the same position in today's 74-lap race.
Todd Kelly soldiered on in high temperatures today, with the Cool Suit system in the #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore failing shortly before the start of the race, making it an uncomfortable afternoon for him.
Garth Tander won today's opening race of the Sydney Telstra 500 ahead of Mark Winterbottom and Jason Bright. The final leg of the Sydney Telstra 500 will be held tomorrow.
Want to know what Todd and Rick Kelly think of the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit? CLICK HERE to find out ...
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"Today wasn't too bad," said Rick Kelly.
"I could have done a better job in qualifying but we worked our way up to sixth in the race and it seemed that our tyres were coming on a bit quicker than everyone else's.
"We were pretty strong in the initial laps, the first 10 laps or 15 on the first and second set of tyres. But a couple of hold ups in the pits with traffic cost us a chance at a podium. We are a bit disappointed with that.
"The track is a lot of fun but you just can't pass around it. We had more pace than the guys in front, and we just buggered our tyres up. We burnt our rears up trying to get by them. So it's a bit of a bummer.
"The lesson from today to learn for tomorrow is to qualify better and stay up the front.
"It's our first race here so doing 74 laps in a row you really have to have a good feel for the car and you can play with the bars and see what it wants. So we are confident of making it a lot better for tomorrow."
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"The strategy didn't really land in our lap and I struggled with the car, but I didn't drive it as well as what I should have," said Todd Kelly.
"The cool suit packed up on the grid before the start of the race so I did the whole race without it. From about mid-race it was pretty average, I wasn't getting anywhere near the most out of the car.
"If we can fix the cool suit and re-hydrate and wake up alright in the morning and fine tune the car a bit more, we should have a better day tomorrow. It was hard going. It was a pretty tough race."