Kelly Brothers Set To Attack In Tasmania
Jack Daniel’s Racing drivers Todd and Rick Kelly will be attacking hard in this final phase of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship, starting this weekend at the Falken Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston, Tasmania.
For Rick Kelly the final three events of the season, held over a four-week period, represent a chance for the driver of the #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore to jump back into the top five in the points standings.
Todd Kelly’s last race win came at Symmons Plains Raceway aboard the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore in 2008, with the 32-year-old looking to end the season on a high with strong results in Tasmania, Sandown and Sydney.
After the endurance events at Phillip Island, Bathurst and the Gold Coast, Jack Daniel’s Racing now returns its attention to single driver format events, aiming to end the 2011 season in the best possible fashion.
JACK DANIEL’S RACING QUOTEBOARD
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
QUESTION: What do you think of Symmons Plains Raceway?
“From a personal point of view, I love the track. It's short, it's only got a couple of corners on it, but it's a tough one,” said Rick Kelly.
“In qualifying the top 25 are normally separated by sixth tenths of a second and it's the only track in Australia that's really that close.
“Qualifying is very important there. It's got a long straight and a whole lot of different things that make it an exciting track.”
QUESTION: What are your tactics for these last three events of the 2011 championship? Is this a time to build up momentum for next season?
“Now is no time for us to come out and make big, bold statements. We're certainly not in a position to try and defend our championship position. We are in a position where we need to attack.
“We go to the last three rounds with that mindset to try and pull back some points that we lost from the poor result at Bathurst with the oil leak problem.
“Our team wants a top five result in the championship and with me in seventh we've got the best shot to do it. We've got three events to try and do it and we'll be pushing as hard as we can to try and achieve it.”
QUESTION: You must be really pleased with the resurgence of Murph and the possibility that he could join you in the top 10 in the championship points soon?
“That's going to be a very big result for our whole team if we can get two cars in the top 10. We've got four drivers that are capable of being up in the top 10 but have been unable to achieve that with different levels of luck throughout the season.
“To have Murph knocking on the door of a top 10 is very exciting. Murph and I have had really strong battles on the track at the last couple of events.
“He is at the top of his game. When I'm out there racing with him, you can't leave him an inch because he will take it. He's doing an outstanding job out there in our Pepsi Max car.
“I've really enjoyed not only having him in the team and working with him, particularly of late, but I’ve enjoyed racing with him as well.
“With his current form, there is no doubt that he will be well and truly in the top 10 by the end of the year. We've still got a lot of points to be gathered from the last three events and he's only three points away from 10th in the championship.
“He's got a real opportunity of getting all the way up to eighth. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the year plays out for him because he's doing an outstanding job at the moment.”
QUESTION: How rewarding is it for you to see Murph making such strong progress in the second half of his first year with the team?
“It's a real black art to try to get a driver and engineer in a team and work together to find the sweet spot with a car and driver, then see that car chip away and get results.
“On my Jack Daniel's Commodore this year we've had some great results and it's been a little bit up and down, and Todd has had a lot of bad luck.
“But on Murph's Pepsi Max Commodore and Dave Reynolds' Stratco Commodore, we've really seen both those guys and the engineering group find that sweet spot and put their cars towards the front of the field.
“That's pretty exciting for us as a young team. We are not searching around the bush anymore for that magic set-up. We've got all the ingredients we need here. We've really been able to start putting things together and move our cars towards the front of the grid.
“For us that's quite exciting. If we can keep moving forward at that rate we will be at the front in the not-too-distant future, but we've still got a lot of work to do to get there.”
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“Tassie is a great little track and the racing there is always very close,” said Todd Kelly.
“My win down there in 2008 is a great memory and we’ve had some good pace down there in our Jack Daniel’s cars.
“Coming out of the endurance events I felt I had good pace in all three events, but didn’t have the luck to get the result we deserved.
“The whole team is really focused on finishing the season on a high. Murph is close to joining Rick in the top 10 in points and I’m very keen to put the bad luck to one side and score some great finishes to end the year.
“The cars are progressing in the right direction and we’ve been making some good gains. Tassie and Sandown on back-to-back weekends will be important for us to keep improving our cars and get some good results.”
Kelly success in Tasmania …
- 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 cost him the round victory
- Rick Kelly was scored a podium in Tasmania in 2005 with third overall
- Rick Kelly broke brother Todd’s record as the youngest driver to contest 100 V8 Supercars Championship/Australian Touring Car Championship events at the Symmons Plains event in 2009