RICK KELLY CONFIDENT NEW TEAM HAS WHAT IT TAKES AT BATHURST Rick Kelly is confident that he and brother Todd's new team is now in a position to make a serious attack on this weekend's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 after the Kelly brothers ...
RICK KELLY CONFIDENT NEW TEAM HAS WHAT IT TAKES AT BATHURST
Rick Kelly is confident that he and brother Todd's new team is now in a position to make a serious attack on this weekend's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 after the Kelly brothers completed their traditional drive to Mount Panorama.
As the newest team in the V8 Supercar pack, lead drivers Todd and Rick Kelly have worked hard at developing the new team since it opened its doors in Braeside, Melbourne on March 2nd earlier this year.
The Kelly brothers drove a custom '53 Chev to Bathurst along with Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Nathan Pretty and Ben Collins this week, continuing an annual tradition that the Kellys and Pretty share with so many other Bathurst fans.
With a qualifying race win at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island in the first endurance race of the season last month, the #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore of the Kellys will be a car to watch at Mount Panorama, one of only three entries that can boast both drivers as former Bathurst winners.
Practice for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 starts tomorrow at the 6.213-kilometre circuit.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
QUESTION: The speed that you showed at Phillip Island pointed towards you guys being a real contender here at Bathurst. What chance do you give yourselves?
"We're a big chance," said Rick Kelly.
"The pace we had at Phillip Island was really second-to-none.
"The weather conditions and everything suited us right down to the ground. We had a couple of little hiccups that took us out of contention for the race win and since then we've done everything we can do to make sure those little hiccups don't happen here.
"The guys have done a really great job at preparing our Jack Daniel's Commodore and all the guys at Kelly Racing really have the right mindset.
"To win this race you need to have the right team-mate, the right car and the right crew and we've really been able to do a good job with it.
"A little over six months in, we know that our new team has all the right guys for the job and they've given us a great car.
"Todd and I have won Bathurst before so as far as a team and a combination goes I think we have a strong chance."
QUESTION: Do you think that your traditional drive to Bathurst gives you a chance to collect your thoughts and relax a little bit in the lead-up to the race?
"The lead-up to Bathurst for us has been very busy, even though we've had a bit of time between Phillip Island and this race.
"We've been working on a lot of little projects and making sure everything is in order for the big race.
"So the trip up was a day and a half of time that was great for us to reflect on what sort of event this is and just relax a little bit and get into the groove of the Bathurst weekend.
"Now we are starting to think about each session and have a good think about everything.
"The drive up is definitely a worthwhile trip for us and the old '53 Chev ran seamlessly the whole way, which was fantastic."
QUESTION: If it was to rain on Sunday, does that change the race dramatically and does the list of race favourites change?
"It just puts another big variable into the race.
"Rain at Mount Panorama can mean it's raining at the top of the Mountain and not the bottom, or vice-versa, and that can catch you out.
"The rain, mixed with oil, debris and other things that can get onto the track are all things that can grab you.
"I don't think that rain will change who is most likely to win, it just might take a couple of the favourites out of the race.
"So we just have to make sure that we make smart decisions out there as a team and as drivers and just hope that we are there in a good position towards the end of the race when it counts."
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"When we established our own team this year we knew that it was going to take a while to bed things down but so far I've been really pleased with how things have worked out," said Todd Kelly.
"But all year this race has been a major focus for us and our speed at Phillip Island showed that we've improved our Jack Daniel's Commodores to the point where we now have a very competitive package.
"It's great to arrive here and have race week well underway. It doesn't matter how many times you race here, you always have a special feeling when you drive into this place and you always want to go flat out to win it.
"Bringing our own team to Bathurst for the first time is a very exciting thing for not only me and Rick, but our whole team and all of our supporters, so I couldn't be happier right now."
Ben Collins - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"I'm lucky to have some great team-mates to help me and I've got a lot of in-car footage and data from previous races that the Kelly brothers and Nathan have given me to watch with the aim of familiarizing myself with the circuit before I arrived here," said Ben Collins.
"I've been looking at footage and data to learn and now that I've arrived I have already been around the track to continue to learn ahead of the race.
"It's great that I have the seat-time from Phillip Island under my belt because to me this is a completely new discipline of racing. Hopefully I can carry the progress from that event into here at Bathurst."
Nathan Pretty - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"Rick, Todd and myself always try and do something a bit different rather than fly here in a helicopter or plane," said Nathan Pretty.
"It's very enjoyable, especially driving down William Street and seeing Mount Panorama. So we're working on getting Ben all psyched up about it and it's great to see that big sign up on the hill and to get to Bathurst in one piece.
"We didn't have any dramas on the trip and it was great fun, so that's another Bathurst trip under our belt.
"We've been sparking up a few jokes about our British friend, Ben. When we first got here we did a few laps around the circuit in the Chev and Ben is already quietly excited about the track and the challenge ahead of him this weekend.
"He will do a great job. He did an awesome job at Phillip Island so there is no reason why he will not do well again here."