SECOND GIVES RICK KELLY DOUBLE PODIUM AT PHILLIP ISLAND Rick Kelly has delivered Jack Daniel's Racing its second trophy in two days with second place in the final race of the Island 300 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria ...
SECOND GIVES RICK KELLY DOUBLE PODIUM AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Rick Kelly has delivered Jack Daniel's Racing its second trophy in two days with second place in the final race of the Island 300 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria today.
Just nine months (278 days to be exact ...) after Kelly Racing's official opening, Kelly delivered the squad two podium finishes in two days around the fast seaside circuit.
This weekend's speed outlined both the pace of the team's two Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodores and the potential of the emerging team at both the final two events of this year and heading into the 2010 season.
Kelly qualified in fifth position in his #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore and was up to fourth by the time the first round of pit stops was completed.
A great strategy from the Jack Daniel's Racing crew and a slick first pit stop on lap 11 saw Rick Kelly vault into second position and from there the dual Bathurst winner held his ground after the second pit stop on lap 20.
After a scare exiting pit lane after his second stop, when the Safety Car inexplicably stopped on the front straight, Kelly cleared away from those behind and set about chasing down race leader Jamie Whincup.
In the end the two drivers had similar pace and as a result the positions did not change, with Kelly's second placing today his best-ever official race result at Phillip Island and also making him the best Holden both today and for the weekend overall.
Kelly remains seventh in the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series standings and closes the gap to Mark Winterbottom and Steven Johnson, who sit between the 26-year-old and his goal of finishing in the top five in the series standings at the end of the team's first season.
For the second consecutive day Todd Kelly showed ultra-impressive car speed aboard his #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, but in the end luck was again not on his side.
Todd Kelly qualified in 11th position but a great pit stop from the Jack Daniel's Racing crew moved him up the order into fourth place after his first pit stop on lap 12.
The older of the Kelly brothers was catching the leading trio but his run was ended when he was served with a drive through penalty for an unsafe exit from his second pit stop and making contact with the car of Garth Tander in pit lane.
Both Todd and Rick Kelly and all of Jack Daniel's Racing and Kelly Racing are now keen to continue the great form shown at Phillip Island this weekend at the Bigpond 300 at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth in two weeks time.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
QUESTION: It must be very satisfying to not only get two podium finishes here this weekend, but to show such good pace, as it's a very encouraging sign for the rest of this year and also 2010.
"Yeah, absolutely," said Rick Kelly.
"From a personal point of view as well, I really enjoyed that race. It was awesome to chase Jamie (Whincup) down. He was pushing hard and so was I and we managed to stay within two seconds of him for that whole time.
"I'm pretty stoked with that. If we're going to win races I need to drive very consistently and get the most out of the car at every corner of every lap of every race.
"We showed that we are quite strong as far as the race car goes and keeping the car on the track and going fast.
"I'm personally satisfied with that and as far as the team goes it will be great to let everyone enjoy this.
"Everyone has worked so hard to get to this point. We will have a bit of a lunch with all the team to enjoy it before we head to Perth.
"It's a little bit of a bummer that Todd wasn't up there with me. He's probably driven even better than I have and unfortunately circumstances in both races meant that he wasn't able to finish up there.
"So with that in mind we should go to the next two events and keep that momentum going and do the same thing again hopefully."
RICK KELLY PRESS CONFERENCE
QUESTION: Rick, third yesterday, second today, you've got nothing but a win going your way at Barbagallo if that trend continues. You must be pretty happy after a good weekend for your team?
"Yeah, absolutely. I'm a little bit disappointing with my qualifying to be honest. That's what is letting us down at the moment.
"The Jack Daniel's Commodore could have been a couple of tenths quicker. To be honest I could have got a couple of tenths more out of it and it was the same today. We probably should have been in around third as far as the car goes.
"The race pace is quite good. It was a little bit 'oversteery' for us out there for us and we found that out on the first racing lap and I said 'uh-oh' because we had 43 laps to go and we managed to keep the tail behind the front of the car, which was good.
"Like Jamie (Whincup) said I was trying to chase him down as best I could.
"The way the tyres work here if you can have two or three slides they deteriorate quite quickly and your lap times start to fall away and you just can't get that back.
"So it might have looked like we were just going slow but we were being very gentle and being a little bit conservative. I was trying my hardest to catch Jamie but at the same time if I did have a couple of slides, the guys behind would have swamped me pretty quick.
"So it was quite an enjoyable race."
QUESTION: Talk us through what you saw with the Safety Car conditions there when everyone was rejoining. What did you see from your perspective?
"It was absolutely dangerous to be honest with you.
"We're quite lucky that someone's fuel tank didn't end up under the bonnet with what happened. I mean, I parked alongside the Safety Car and gave it a few revs and they just sat there ... we were ready to go and nothing happened.
"I would expect that something may get done about that because you certainly don't want that to happen again and I wouldn't like to be parked on the road with cars coming up the straight doing 250km/h again."
QUESTION: Who do you focus your energies on in that regard? Is there somebody that will, on behalf of the drivers, take this to the officials as it's your neck on the line out there when you've got cars approaching at that speed? What's the actual process?
"Probably giving the Safety Car a drive through (laughs).
"I don't know. There are a lot of things, a lot of rough edges that could be tidied up in some people's opinions.
"Everyone as a team owner and member is attacking that and I'm sure there will be plenty of letters written in about that particular incident and whoever is responsible for that incident would surely already recognise that something needs to be done.
"I don't even think that needs to happen as far as people bringing it up, I'm sure they're aware of it."
QUESTION: It's been a great result for yourself but unfortunately your brother Todd had another drama. At lap 10 you had two in the top four and then after the Safety Car sequence he had dramas in pit lane. But the speed of your cars in race trim must be really encouraging going into the last four races of the year.
"Absolutely. Through the mid-part of the year, like I said yesterday, my driving could have probably been a little bit better as far as concentration for a whole race. If you make just one little error there you can lose three or four spots.
"I'm pretty happy with how we went today. We were chasing Jamie and we were lucky in that we were similar and none of us made a mistake. It's good and it's pretty exciting. I can hit the training up now and really start to focus on next year and keep on building that speed and maintain a sustainable team that we've got underneath us and get Todd up there.
"He's been driving well and had a lot of pace. It would be good to see him on the podium as well, which I'm sure is not far away."
QUESTION: Out there in a longer race when tyre wear is such an issue, what is it like when you're sliding the car? How dramatic was the drop off out there?
"I think the drop off wasn't that bad. We were doing high sixs (1min26secs) and low sevens for about 20 laps or so. So I was actually surprised how well the tyres hung in there to be honest.
"Towards the end on the last three or four laps I set myself a bit of a target to try and catch Jamie a little bit and I hurt the tyre and the last two laps I was quite excited to be in second place so there was no point in firing it off trying to catch Jamie, when that was probably not doable, and lose second place.
"So I had a good gap to third and I backed it off."
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It wasn't our weekend, that's for sure," said Todd Kelly.
"After the thing with Lowndes yesterday it was just bad luck today really with all the confusion and action in pit lane.
"We were in a position to do really well both days this weekend and the Jack Daniel's Commodore was great.
"But it's great for the team. All the boys have worked really hard and what Rick did this weekend was genuine. We didn't luck out and get there by someone giving it to us. That was earned and the Jack Daniel's Commodores were genuinely fast and they have been for quite a few rounds, we just haven't been able to put it together.
"It's going to be a really good, strong finish to the season for the team given and that's great given that it's only our first year."
QUESTION: There are so many things that go into starting a team and especially developing new cars. It must be extremely rewarding to see those things coming together now with two very fast cars this weekend.
"For sure that is massive. Everyone has done a great job. There are teams that go for 10 years in this sport and can't get the recipe right to get a car together to qualify well and to race well and to get on a podium. So to have done that already is huge and certainly gives us the confidence moving forward.
"I've got no issue whatsoever with our equipment. All the boys have done a great job and when we get it right on the day, our cars are good enough to be on the podium and on the front row."
QUESTION: What was your take on the Safety Car problem when you came over the crest on the front straight to see the Safety Car, Jamie and Rick sitting in the middle of the road?
"I've had a drama with my radio all weekend in my car, so that was a bit of a surprise to see that.
"The last thing I heard was that you need to keep on it to make sure you get position as everyone comes out of pit lane and then I saw everyone parked up the end. That was quite dangerous and I didn't hear anything on the radio about that because we've had dramas all weekend.
"It would have been nice of them to park down around the corner a little further!"