Symmons Plains: Jack Daniel's Racing preview

KELLY BROTHERS RATE TINY TASSIE TRACK AUDIO AND IMAGES: Audio grabs and high resolution images for media use are available by clicking on the thumbnails on the right-hand side of this media release. Previous Tasmanian race winners Todd and...

KELLY BROTHERS RATE TINY TASSIE TRACK

AUDIO AND IMAGES: Audio grabs and high resolution images for media use are available by clicking on the thumbnails on the right-hand side of this media release.

Previous Tasmanian race winners Todd and Rick Kelly say that the Symmons Plains Raceway is among their favourite venues on the V8 Supercars calendar.

The Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates are excited to visit the shortest circuit of the season for the Falken Tasmania Challenge this weekend as they chase their first podium of the 2010 season.

Rick Kelly is confident ahead of the Tassie leg of the V8 calendar, with the track known for its high-speed back straight and ultra-sharp hairpin.

"I love it," said Rick Kelly on the 2.4-kilometre circuit.

"Generally, I have had a great car and good speed down there. We want the same pace down there this year but we also want to bring home a result and score a podium.

"It's a nice venue and a great place to go visit as well. We've travelled all around the world this season and this is yet another trip that our team is excited about.

"I like all three tracks that finish off the season in Tassie, Sandown and Sydney so now we need to finish off 2010 in the best possible style."

Todd Kelly says that Symmons Plains consistently puts on great racing.

"I really love that little track," said Todd Kelly.

"It's not a huge track and it's not a massively technical circuit. But it's just a really good little joint to drive around.

"The braking into the hairpin and dipping into the hairpin itself, and then all the fast corners and the fast sweeper around the back, are all a big buzz, especially in the wet.

"Coming into the straight the cars look awesome when you watch them from pit wall. It's just a really good little joint so I can't wait to get there and see how our Jack Daniel's Commodore goes."

Practice for the Falken Tasmania Challenge begins on Friday with qualifying and races on both Saturday and Sunday.

JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:

Q&A with RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore

QUESTION: How do you think the team will perform in Tasmania?

"We are still on a little bit of a high from the Queensland event, not from our results, which were OK, but more from the event itself," said Rick Kelly.

"The last three events for us have been endurance format and they have been tough but fun, especially on the Gold Coast with the international drivers there.

"We need to re-focus because this is the first time in several months that I will be in the Jack Daniel's Commodore by myself.

"So we need to change our plans back into sprint event mode and get back to thinking about the softer Sprint tyre and how we use that.

"We are going back to a track where we did have a great base set-up last year and good pace. We still have a little bit of work to do based on that because I think we were running third last year until we slipped up on some oil.

"We are quite excited for a lot of reasons about Tassie."

QUESTION: Do you enter this final phase of the season with an eye on 2011?

"Yes and no - we are always focused on getting closer to the front, in particular for next season, being our third year already," said Rick Kelly.

"We set ourselves a goal before the enduros to get into the top five in the championship and for our team's second year, having a car in the top five would be a pretty awesome achievement.

"As each round goes by that challenge certainly gets a lot harder. At the moment we have sort of cemented ourselves in seventh place, which is one place better than where we ended up last year, but the gap to the top five will be difficult to overcome.

"So we need to get even better results at these last three events to try and achieve that top five. With three events remaining that is achievable but we will have to step it up a notch, and that's what we are planning to do."

QUESTION: Will you race the championship contenders, Jamie and James, any differently when you are around them on the track?

"I'm not going to be a driver that goes out there and says that they should worry because I want to win races and they should get out of the way because they have a championship to worry about," said Rick Kelly.

"I was in that position myself a few years ago and I certainly remember the drivers that raced me fairly and the drivers that were less than ideal about the whole situation.

"For me, those guys have done a great job to get into that position. I'm going to go out there and do my job the best that I can but make sure that I don't interrupt what they are doing, because they have done a great job and they have a great battle ahead of them, which is important for our category."

QUESTION: The final few races of the season can show the pressure and strain involved for the drivers challenging for the title. What sort of stress will James and Jamie be under at the last three events?

"Well, Jamie has now been in this position for three years straight. In 2007 he narrowly missed winning the championship against Garth and then he has won the last two titles.

"So Jamie has been in this position for three years in a row and now again for a fourth time, but James has not, at least in our category.

"Even though Jamie is behind in the points I think he has a clear advantage. For me, as well as all the fans of our sport, it is going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out.

"The focus on the title contenders also allows us to sneak under the radar a little in this last part of the year, so hopefully we can score some good results to finish the season."

QUESTION: Do you have any goals for this last part of the season?

"With the team we need to make a solid move towards the front," said Rick Kelly.

"That's the box that we need to tick.

"But for me personally I really want to get on the podium a couple of times. If I don't then this will be the toughest year that I've ever had since I started in V8 Supercars.

"The only year that I haven't got a podium is 2002, which was my first full season in the category, and even then I got a few fourth places.

"This year I have scored a few fourths as well and I know the category is arguably the toughest it has ever been, but we definitely need to pull out all stops and aim to get a podium or two in these last few races.

"You don't get fourth place finishes by mistake. We are obviously pretty close to getting a podium but we need to perform even better so that we can take that extra step.

"When we get to stand on that podium it will not be by chance, it will be because we have done a good job."

QUESTION: What do you think of the Symmons Plains track?

"I love it," said Rick Kelly.

"It was way back in 2004 that I was well and truly in line to win the round entering the last race. All I had to do was finish somewhere half decent but we had and engine failure and I didn't finish.

"Generally ever since then I have had a great car and good speed down there. We want the same pace down there this year but we also want to bring home a result and score a podium.

"It's a nice venue and a great place to go visit as well. We've travelled all around the world this season and this is yet another trip that our team is excited about.

"I like all three tracks that finish off the season in Tassie, Sandown and Sydney so now we need to finish off 2010 in the best possible style."

Q&A with TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Symmons Plains Raceway? You had a race win and event podium there in the Jack Daniel's car in 2008.

"I really love that little track," said Todd Kelly.

"It's not a huge track and it's not a massively technical circuit. But it's just a really good little joint to drive around.

"The braking into the hairpin and dipping into the hairpin itself, and then all the fast corners and the fast sweeper around the back, are all a big buzz, especially in the wet.

"Coming into the straight the cars look awesome when you watch them from pit wall. It's just a really good little joint so I can't wait to get there and see how our Jack Daniel's Commodore goes."

QUESTION: We are now into the final three events of the year and back to Sprint format after three endurance events. What is your approach?

"The pressure is on a bit and I'm really hungry to get a result," said Todd Kelly.

"I'm massively disappointed with how we have gone this year. As a team, we have not taken that next step from last year like we all would have liked.

"Symmons Plains is a place where we generally go really well. We would have liked to have gone better at Bathurst, where our cars normally go well, and at Surfers we would have liked to have much better result as well.

"So Symmons is an event where we really need to get the whole thing to come together and get the job done."

QUESTION: Jamie Whincup and James Courtney are fighting it out for the title. Do you race those two any differently in these last three events?

"I will have respect for Jamie and James if I am out on the track near them," said Todd Kelly.

"I will respect that they have had a good run through the year and have put in a lot of hard work to get to where they are. I will not want to jeopardise what they are trying to do.

"But at the same time, if they give me any aggro, I will not let them get away with it. But you certainly need to show a bit of respect for the guys that are fighting for the championship because it will be on for young and old between those two at these last three events."

QUESTION: How bad was the damage to your #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore after Sunday's crash on the Gold Coast?

"There was actually a fair bit of damage to the front of the chassis," said Todd Kelly.

"The bar work was damaged from when it tore the left front wheel straight off and it fired the wheel back up into the car.

"The bars that were damaged are extremely difficult to get to so it is not such an easy fix. But we have an awesome bunch of blokes here and when things go pear-shaped like that you don't have the guys from the car crew just walk off and let the fabricators deal with it.

"We had 10 blokes buzzing around that car and they got my Jack Daniel's car back together after almost completely stripping it, which is awesome.

"All while that was going on we were trying to get Rick's new chassis finished off so being in that tough sort of situation really gives you a good idea of what kind of team you have around you. Our guys always pull through and really deliver, so we're extremely lucky to have such a great bunch of guys that can hook in and fix dramas like this one when they happen from time to time."

QUESTION: You have just been elected as an alternate board member of V8 Supercars Australia. How did that come about?

"Being on the board will probably be a whole lot less stressful compared to what we have going on with Kelly Racing," said Todd Kelly.

"We have bitten off a huge amount to try and chew with running a four car team and being the newest, youngest outfit - and also being one of the biggest - in the whole field.

"Rick and I are here for the long haul with the development we are doing out the back of our workshop and the direction we are heading in with the team and the cars.

"This is not a five-minute deal for us. We want to become one of the benchmark teams and still be here doing the same deal in 10 years time.

"So to get our side of the fence right is one thing, but then to not have any input or as much knowledge as we would like on how the category is going is a big thing for us. Being involved in that and being a part of the process that makes all the decisions in terms of where the sport is going is hugely important.

"I think it is fantastic for the team to be represented at board level, albeit as an alternate board member, and I am looking forward to getting stuck into it and I want to help out as much as I can with this new position.

"As an alternate you can go to every second board meeting or you can go to every meeting if you like. But having that option certainly does make it easier for me if clashes do arise.

"Depending on how it goes I'd eventually like to be a proper board member some time in the future but first we need to see how I go. It will be a big eye opener as I have not been to a V8 Supercar board meeting before, so I am looking forward to it."

KEY FACTS:

Kelly success in Tasmania ^a

* Todd Kelly won the opening race of the Tasmanian event in 2008 in his #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore and stood on the event podium with second place overall for the weekend

* Rick Kelly won the opening race of the Tasmanian event in 2004 and was second in Race 2 before an engine failure in the third race

* Rick Kelly was scored a podium in Tasmania in 2005 with third overall

-source: kelly racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Rick Kelly , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly