TODD KELLY STORMS TO FOURTH PLACE AT SANDOWN RICK KELLY SAVES SOFT TYRES FOR SUNDAY ... Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has stormed up the order to grab fourth place in the opening race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge in Melbourne...
TODD KELLY STORMS TO FOURTH PLACE AT SANDOWN
RICK KELLY SAVES SOFT TYRES FOR SUNDAY ...
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has stormed up the order to grab fourth place in the opening race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge in Melbourne today.
Today's finish is the fifth top five finish for the new team, further demonstration that Jack Daniel's Racing is knocking on the door of a debut podium result.
Kelly's #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore was one of the fastest cars all day at the 3.1-kilometre circuit, qualifying as the third fastest car for today's Top 10 Shootout.
But a locked brake on the entry to Turn 1 on his Shootout lap cost Kelly valuable time and left him to start today's 33-lap race from 10th position.
Kelly consistently set some of the fastest lap times of the race to gradually climb up the order, helped by a charging start that netted him three positions at the first corner.
Race Engineer Barry Hay also played a part in the strong result, his strategy to run the softer option tyre for the entire race, and rotate the wheels at the car's compulsory fuel stop, paying dividends.
Rick Kelly is looking forward to tomorrow's 65-lap race after a setback before the start of today's race.
Rick Kelly qualified 12th in the #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, narrowly missing the Top 10 Shootout after developing a driveline vibration late in qualifying.
Then in the lead-up to the race, a control engine sensor failed on Rick Kelly's car, with the Jack Daniel's Racing crew quickly replacing the sensor, but Rick was forced to start from pit lane.
Rick and engineer David Swenson quickly opted to remove the soft 'option' tyres they were to start the race on, saving them for tomorrow and giving them a strong chance of a podium finish on Sunday.
Rick ran the entire race on a used set of harder control tyres, also saving a new set of the harder tyres for tomorrow's qualifying and race.
The race was not without incident for Rick, who made contact with Jason Bright at Turn 2 with five laps remaining. The incident bent Rick's steering, forcing him to limp home to collect championship points from a 24th place finish.
Will Davison won today's race ahead of James Courtney and Craig Lowndes.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"I'm still disappointed with the Shootout today," said Todd Kelly.
"We had a really good Jack Daniel's Commodore in qualifying and threw it away into the first corner and lost nine tenths right there.
"It was a bit disappointing but the race was alright. I had to try and get past a few cars that were a bit slower because of starting 10th.
"Our genuine race speed was quicker that at least three or four of the cars in front and on the soft tyres, trying to keep those guys and trying to pass them just killed our tyres.
"Had we qualified where we should have, we would have had good race pace without being held up. To get back to fourth was a good day and a better result than we've had the last few races anyway."
Rick Kelly - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It wasn't our day today," said Rick Kelly.
"In qualifying we had an unbelievably quick Jack Daniel's Commodore and unfortunately we couldn't get the best out of it with a bit of a vibration we had in the car that concerned us, so we had to pit on our good set of tyres to check it.
"It's the first time we've had an electrical problems. In the pits we couldn't start the car for the start of the race.
"It was always going to be a difficult one for us after that. We just tried to stay out of trouble, albeit unsuccessfully, and we saved all our tyres for tomorrow.
"We only used four tyres in the race today so it puts us in a good position for tomorrow.
"When you start from pitlane it tough and this is a difficult track to pass around so unfortunately you're stuck there.
"As much as today was bad, tomorrow should be alright.
"We didn't run the soft tyres at all today - we only used four tyres and they were a hard set so we're in good knick for tomorrow."