Phillip Island: Jack Daniel's Racing Friday report

JACK DANIEL'S COMMODORES THIRD AND SEVENTH IN PHILLIP ISLAND PRACTICE Jack Daniel's Racing has hit the ground running in practice for the L&H 500 by placing its cars in third and seventh place on the timesheets at the Phillip Island Grand ...


Jack Daniel's Racing has hit the ground running in practice for the L&H 500 by placing its cars in third and seventh place on the timesheets at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria today.

Rick Kelly and Owen Kelly put the #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore in third place overall for the day at Phillip Island today, with the pair sharing seat time as they both prepare for the first endurance event of the 2010 season.

Todd Kelly and Dale Wood were not far behind in the #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore as the seventh fastest entry overall in changeable conditions today at the 4.445-kilometre circuit.

The three practice sessions held at Phillip Island today featured both wet and dry track time, allowing both Jack Daniel's entries to trial set-ups on wet and slick tyres ahead of tomorrow's qualifying races.

The speed also reaffirmed the team's affection for the Phillip Island layout, where Todd Kelly won a qualifying race in the corresponding ebent last season and Rick Kelly was a two-time podium place getter in the sprint event held at the seaside circuit last November.

Shane van Gisbergen and John McIntrye's #9 entry was the fastest of the day on overall times in practice at Phillip Island today, ahead of the #888 Commodore of Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife and the Kelly/Kelly #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore.


RICK KELLY & OWEN KELLY - Third Place Post-Practice Press Conference

QUESTION: Both of you have done a fair bit of running on track today. In that last session Rick I noticed you allowed Owen to do a lot of the running. Is that a strategic thing to do, to give him more running here on the Friday?

RICK KELLY: That middle session we were planning on doing a whole heap of different things but the rain stopped us a bit. We 'roaded' a couple of sets of wets and we planned for Owen doing six or eight laps in one hit to get the hang of the Jack Daniel's car around here, as well as looking at the fuel burn rate and that sort of thing.

But it really didn't turn out for us with the wet weather so we chose to do that in the last session. Traditionally we have had a reasonable car here so we really haven't touched it much. We've more been playing with things like race trim, fuel usage and stuff like that.

It's good to be able to head to a track and roll the car out and it's pretty reasonable and you can have a good time playing with other stuff and not worry about set-up so much. So far, so good.

QUESTION: So no truth to the rumour that it's down to the advice that the Good Charlotte boys gave you in terms of set-up information?

RICK KELLY: (laughs) They were pretty laid back. We got out puffing and those guys were pretty cool, calm and collected about it. It was a good bit of fun coming down here. We were all pretty excited to head back this week because you come to this track and you look at it when no one is on the track and it's just a special place, with the ocean in the background and the long sweeping corners. I wish we could race here every weekend.

QUESTION: A lot of teams were using wet tyres early in the day and as it dried out then the challenge was to get the slick tyres on quickly. Then the reverse happened in Practice 2. I saw a lot of tyres in your garage that looked pretty worn in terms of wet tyres that looked over-used. Is that something you've got to be very careful with as far as tyre management is concerned because there is not an unlimited supply of wet weather tyres?

RICK KELLY: It's very important to learn that point where you need to go from a wet to a slick. We were first on the track I think to change and we could have probably gone a little earlier than that. So we learned that quite well.

The wets that we did run all day were our travel tyres for the last 12 months. If I wasn't the team owner I would have demanded a new set but seeing that we pay the bills now I had to go 'alright, we'll use those old tyres' and they turned out to be OK.

They were a bit wrecked at the end of it and we did a lot of running when it was damp. Hopefully we can use them as travel tyres again from now on.

QUESTION: Last year here you were running well until Todd fell victim to a misplaced seat belt. Have you done anything specific in that area to ensure that you don't have that problem again in the car?

RICK KELLY: That's all we've been doing! The eight drivers we've got have been at the workshop on a daily basis with a stopwatch doing driver changes and changing techniques and looking what each pairing is doing.

I think we are well practiced in that area. We haven't done a lot on set-up but we've done a lot on driver changes and problem management, like when a spoiler breaks, etc. It's all those little parts of a race like this that make the result a win or a loss.

For us, last year I believe we had a car to win the race, but we had understeer when we were jammed behind people and things like the belts went wrong.

We need to plan for that for Sunday, that things are going to go wrong. Even the car that wins does not have a dream run, it never is perfect. So we've spent a lot of time and effort planning around things and being ready for it and acting as you need to when that does happen.

Hopefully we've ticked a lot of those boxes this year and we can have a car that's capable of winning and actually getting that result.

QUESTION: Owen, to you, obviously of the group up there at this press conference you are probably the least experienced as far as V8 Supercar long distance running is concerned. I know you have done a lot before. What does it mean for you to be sitting up there in first practice on a Friday when effectively we haven't really been hearing much about you all year?

OWEN KELLY: I was actually about to get changed in the truck and I didn't even pay attention to the times. We were just going through our plan and concentrating on what we were doing and they said 'you need to go to the press conference' and I said 'well, that's nice'.

Rick did a great job at the end there and it was good for me to get some wet running, some dry running and with the track drying and deciding when to go from wets to slicks. It's all those things that you come up against on a Sunday so it's been a good day.

QUESTION: Your program of racing this year has been some races in the Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series, a race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and running on test days and co-driver sessions with the Jack Daniel's team. Is there a lot of pressure being paired with Rick and effectively flying the flag for one of the leading drivers here on Sunday?

OWEN KELLY: I feel within myself that I've done enough of it that I know what I've got to do and Sunday is pay day, so I'm not getting too carried away about today or tomorrow.

I will see what Rick can do and I've just got to do my bit and give it back to him nice and straight, get my stint done and then let Rick get on with it. Obviously there is pressure but we've all got to perform. I think we know what we've got to do.

Rick is really easy to drive with and we fit in the Jack Daniel's car well together. The team has been really great so it's been a pretty smooth preparation so far.

TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore

"We are pretty happy with today," said Todd Kelly.

"We didn't get through many set-up things with the rain coming on and off and trying to give Dale as much time in the car as possible.

"But there are a lot of little bits in the data that show areas where we can improve and there are a couple of little things that we can improve with the car as well.

"I think we are in pretty good shape. We're seventh but (Jamie) Whincup and (James) Courtney just in front are on almost exactly the same lap time. We only need to fine tune and find a little bit to jump ahead of those guys but we've got some more time to find to get near the top cars, so we'll work hard overnight to catch up to those boys."

DALE WOOD - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore

"It was a really good day," said Dale Wood.

"I think the Jack Daniel's car is fantastic and Todd's really happy as well. He was quick today.

"I was planning to have a run on good tyres at the end of the session today but it was called short. I also made a mistake earlier on and went off the road so I'm not happy about that, but there was no serious damage done. You need to watch the weather out there.

"Otherwise, it was a really good day. The car is settled but it's hairy out there with the winds, but that's same for everyone and it's always changing."

-source: kelly racing

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Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Todd Kelly , Owen Kelly , Shane van Gisbergen , Dale Wood , Phillip Island