KELLYS CONFIRM BATHURST POTENTIAL WITH FIFTH AT PHILLIP ISLAND Brothers Todd and Rick Kelly have confirmed the potential of their new V8 Supercar operation by ending a positive weekend at the first endurance event of the season with fifth place...
KELLYS CONFIRM BATHURST POTENTIAL WITH FIFTH AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Brothers Todd and Rick Kelly have confirmed the potential of their new V8 Supercar operation by ending a positive weekend at the first endurance event of the season with fifth place in the L&H 500 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria today.
The pairing are now well-placed for an assault on the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 next month, having proven one of the strongest combinations in the field aboard their #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore and finishing a close second in their one and only appearance paired together at Mount Panorama.
It could have been even better for the team-mates, with the combination on course for a podium finish mid-way through the 113-lap race, an encouraging sign just sixth months after Kelly Racing opened its doors.
A seatbelt problem in Todd Kelly's second stint in the Jack Daniel's Commodore slowed his pace, causing him to lose several positions and vital track position to the leaders. Kelly was able to alleviate the problem with his belts to improve the circulation to his legs, allowing him to return to his earlier strong pace.
Rick Kelly climbed back aboard for the final stint of the race and was able to reclaim two positions in the final stages, claiming the sixth top five and 15th top 10 finish for Jack Daniel's Racing so far this season.
Nathan Pretty and Ben Collins scored an encouraging 18th place finish aboard the #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, charging through the pack after starting down the order.
Will Davison and Garth Tander won today's L&H 500 ahead of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes and the pairing of Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will be held at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit on October 8-11.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
QUESTION: This is the first endurance event of the year and you have certainly shown the potential of Jack Daniel's Racing with this weekend's form.
"We started the weekend really well and the Jack Daniel's Commodore is responding to changes well now," said Todd Kelly.
"Rick and I are both very comfortable in it and it was great to have our first race win yesterday, even though it was a qualifying race.
"We had our fair share of dramas but the car wasn't too bad in the end. We would have liked to have scored a better result. It was certainly looking close because all the ingredients are there and the car was good.
"It's a good lead-up to Bathurst but not what we aimed for today."
QUESTION: In your second stint you lost pace there for a while with a problem with the belts.
"When I got in the belt was twisted and it gave me a little bit of aggro.
"It cut the circulation off in my leg and it was a bit of a rough stint. That cost us a fair bit of track position today so that was a bit unfortunate.
"It felt terrible to lose a few spots out there. We got a few back at the end but just the amount of ground I lost to the guys in front was bad.
"It's hard to quantify how much it cost us in the end but if it cost us one spot it's still a bad thing.
QUESTION: Heading into Bathurst you must be excited given the form that you and Rick showed this weekend?
"All the development has come to play at the right time.
"We haven't changed the car since Queensland now and we want to leave it the same for the rest of the year.
"We want to get a bit of continuity and the car is certainly good enough to do the job, we just need to learn to set it up a little bit better and get all those little things right and we will be there."
Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It's a little bit deflating to have two little mishaps, one with the ballast on Saturday and one with the belts today, cost us a chance at fighting for the win," said Rick Kelly.
"I think that we're nine tenths of the way there, particularly at this track with our pace as a team. We just need to sneak that little bit more out of the Jack Daniel's Commodore and just stop silly little things getting in our way.
"Both things that happened this weekend are things that caught us out a little bit. Hopefully they will not happen again. They're just little things that are easy to fix.
"The pace we had in the Jack Daniel's Commodore was capable of letting us fight with those guys towards the front and if we sneak a little bit more speed out of it we will be pretty happy."
QUESTION: A big part of this event is getting ready for Bathurst. Do you feel more confident for Bathurst after the pace you have shown this weekend?
"Here, all weekend, we showed great strength as a team and with speed with the drivers so that's exactly the combination you need for Bathurst.
"We said that the endurance events were the things we were focused on but unfortunately we still didn't get the result we would have liked here.
"We just need to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity at Bathurst."
Nathan Pretty - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It was very disappointing to have to start so far back after getting turned around in the qualifying race," said Nathan Pretty.
"To start back where we did, I always knew we were never going to finish back there, we were always going to move up.
"It was close towards the end and we battled on being a little bit off the pace, so it was a bit frustrating.
"I'm looking forward to Bathurst knowing that we've got a strong Jack Daniel's Commodore and I think we can aim for a top 10 finish there.
"It's all really positive and I really enjoy Bathurst. I've got a lot of confidence going into that event and now that Ben has got a lot of miles going into that event, he will know more about how this mob race - and they race pretty hard - he's raced against everybody now and he did a great job.
"Neither of us ran off the track or any of that sort of thing, so I think we can hold our heads high to some extent. The fact that we've got a relatively straight car means we can press forward for Bathurst."
Ben Collins - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"We were hoping for a better result but it was great to finish the race and the Jack Daniel's Racing guys did a fantastic job all weekend and really helped me adapt to these cars," said Ben Collins.
"It's very different to anything I've ever driven and that's the first time that I've done long runs in the car and getting used to how the tyre grip and the degradation of the tyre, swapping from low to full tanks, etc.
"I'm really glad that we finished. It was really unfortunately that Nathan was wiped out in the qualifying race and he didn't get much track time heading into the race. He had to learn it as he went to some extent and Nathan did a great job.
"I know Bathurst is a completely different challenge but I feel a lot better having got a full race weekend under my belt.
"Getting your head around these cars and driving them properly is a big deal and I've got a lot more of an understanding of how they work after this weekend.
"I'm not all the way there by any means, but it's definitely opened my eyes to the series and the way the guys race these cars. I want to carry that into Bathurst and do a good job there."