Hidden Valley: Jack Daniel's Racing Friday report

TODD KELLY THIRD FASTEST IN DARWIN PRACTICE Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has made a great start to the SKYCITY Triple Crown with third place in practice at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin, Northern Territory today. Kelly, a two-time...


Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has made a great start to the SKYCITY Triple Crown with third place in practice at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin, Northern Territory today.

Kelly, a two-time event winner up in Darwin, topped the timesheets in the third practice session of the day, with that time good enough to put the #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore in third place on the overall practice results.

While Todd Kelly had a pleasing day, team-mate Rick Kelly struggled with set-up and could only manage 25th fastest overall in his #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore.

Jamie Whincup was fastest in practice today ahead of Mark Winterbottom and Todd Kelly.

Qualiying, the Top 10 Shootout and the first of this weekend's two races will be held tomorrow.



TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

QUESTION: It seems that when you go well Todd, Rick goes badly. When Rick goes well, you go badly and it has happened again today?

Yeah, it's as if we swap cars every now and then or something. I don't know.

Rick had a bad run today. He ran reasonable tyres towards the end but his car isn't quite right.

We don't know where to go with my car. I fell off on the first lap of the third session and I only had one set of green tyres for both sessions.

I did the time on the second lap and it was in a completely different session to these two guys (Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom) so it's really hard to compare and look where we sit.

But given that we used one set of tyres, they just fell away more and more. It gave us a really good gauge of what to expect in the race and we did a fair bit of stuff to try and tune our car up as a race car.

Hopefully, the way the sessions panned out will pay off for tomorrow but we will not really know where we are until we get back out there on the same tyres in the same session.

QUESTION: You were the fastest car all day until the last eight minutes of practice. Does it frustrate you to be pipped so late?

No, I should have left an oil line loose towards the end (laughs).

It's good because it makes everyone push harder. We will go back tonight and even though we don't really know where we sit, we will work as hard as we possibly can to find all those little bits of speed left in the car.

We did find a few little bits later in the session that will convert to green tyre runs.

It's good having Rick and I in the Jack Daniel's cars, if one of us does have a bad day there is half a chance that the other one will be up there.

Rick will get his head around it and I'm pretty sure we will both be somewhere up there by tomorrow.

QUESTION: You had a season best qualifying and race result at Winton. Are you confident that you have found something in the set-up that will have you as a top 10 contender in both qualifying and race trim for the rest of the year now?

It's a bit of a turning point. The second half of the year is certainly different to my first half. We've been through a fairly big process with my car and the engineering of it since the races in the Middle East.

We've done a huge amount of testing. Unfortunately it's been at race meetings so all of the things that have been messing around with, we've plucked all of the good little bits and now stuck them in the car.

So there has been a pretty big improvement and from this point, if we can just have the continuity with not testing things and sticking with all those things we've learned and then get to the point where you take the car to each track fairly similar to the previous round, we should see a pretty big shift in the performance.

It's not been like that all year this year. It's been a pretty tough task but you really need to go through that stuff in order to improve. We will be a lot better in the second half.

QUESTION: You broke ground on your workshop extension recently and there always seems to be something else happening for Kelly Racing. Do you ever think that you have bitten off more than you can chew or is the time right to expand?

The building and the planning, Dad is actually back in Melbourne on the back-hoe at the moment digging all the trenches.

QUESTION: With Jeff Grech I believe?

Yes, we've got everybody we know down there on the shovels getting the new joint built! It's good, it is a little bit more work but all that stuff is really positive stuff.

The guys are pumped about it, everybody's excited about the new facility and that, I think, off-sets the workload that you go through to do it. So it's all the things that the team and the sponsors like to see happening.

QUESTION: Todd on Sunday you have to run the soft tyre. Is that really going to throw a curve ball into when and how you use it, with the heat, Safety Cars, all that kind of stuff? Strategy will be very important.

It is a hard one. It will mix the racing up a lot, that's for sure, but there's a pretty good chance that you will get to a situation where you might have an artificial winner, which we have had before on the soft tyre.

It more comes down to an engineer's IQ race in a lot of instances, rather than drivers. Because it will certainly be a different result if we were all on the same tyre for the whole race.

You drive around and look after the tyres as best you can and hope that the engineers put you on the right tyre at the right time and that's how you're going to win a race here on Sunday. It will be an interesting one.

QUESTION: Todd, following on from that, if it's going to be a bit of a lottery with the soft tyre, is that necessarily a bad thing.

That depends if it is your day or not. It might work out good for us, or it might work out bad. I guess what that was intended to achieve was mixing up the winners and it will certainly do that, because as we've seen every time we've run it, guys that are not normally up the pointy end do end up there.

It's good for them and it's good for their sponsors, whenever there is a good thing for someone it's bad for the next guy.

It is good for the guys that can get up there that normally are not I guess."

RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

"It was a tough day for us," said Rick Kelly.

"We didn't have a great base set-up to start with from last year, so we really wanted to come here and tune the car to be better.

"The tyre condition we had for practice was terrible. It was one of the older sets from testing.

"So it was a little bit tough to tune the car. By the end of the session we hadn't really progressed as far as we would have liked because of the old tyres.

"For us it is great that Todd is right up there and we can learn from him and build towards tomorrow."

-source: Jack Daniel's Racing

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