RICK KELLY FALLS SHORT WITH GUTSY PERFORMANCE Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has fallen short of a fifth place finish with a gutsy drive in the opening race of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in Surfers Paradise, Queensland today. The...
RICK KELLY FALLS SHORT WITH GUTSY PERFORMANCE
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has fallen short of a fifth place finish with a gutsy drive in the opening race of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in Surfers Paradise, Queensland today.
The cool suit system in the #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore failed while Owen Kelly was in the car completing the first stint of the 102-lap race.
When Rick Kelly then jumped aboard on lap 35 he was forced to drive a 68-lap double stint with no cooling aid, hampering his ability to muscle his machine around the demanding street circuit.
But despite the setback the pairing was on track for a top five finish in today's race until a late race 'splash and go' pit stop with two laps remaining was required to get the car to the finish.
Earlier in the day Rick Kelly qualified in 11th position and a strong opening stint from Owen Kelly saw him rise to seventh place before he handed over to Rick.
Rick was then into fifth position in the final stages of the race before he was forced to make a third pit stop with only two laps remaining, dropping him to 14th position.
The race was not without drama for the pair, with Owen taking contact from in front and behind in a first lap crash at the new Turn 4 hairpin, damaging the front splitter and effecting the car's performance.
Todd Kelly and Scott Dixon also had an eventful race in the #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore, beginning with Dixon stalling on the startline.
The pair gradually moved back up the order to be in the top 10 in the final stint of the race, but a spin by Todd Kelly on lap 84 as he attempted to pass Jamie Whincup for ninth place.
Like his team-mate Todd Kelly needed an additional pit stop for fuel to reach the end of the race, dropping him a lap down and into 20th place.
Garth Tander and Cameron McConville won today's opening race of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 ahead of Craig Lowndes and Andy Priaulx and Kiwi pairing Shane Van Gisbergen and John McIntyre.
The second race of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 will be held on Sunday.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"It's definitely the hardest race I've done with a cool suit failure," said Rick Kelly.
"It was not super-hot here today but it was just really tough.
"The front splitter was also damaged early in Owen's stint in that lap one stuff. It meant we were locking the right front wheel a lot.
"To be honest I am actually so, so stoked with the job that Owen did and the team did, even keeping me alert there on the radio when I was in poor shape.
"It was just a bummer that we had to pit there and we didn't quite have enough fuel. The Jack Daniel's Commodore is really fast and today we were going to finish fifth before we had to pit.
"It's a good sign for tomorrow but it is disappointing that we didn't finish the job. I myself put in a lot out there feeling pretty hot and bothered so it was tough not to get that result we all deserved.
"But these things happen so we will just get on with the job and look to improve for tomorrow."
OWEN KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"There was a lot going on with that first lap and I was just trying to stay out of trouble and stay with that lead pack," said Owen Kelly.
"Then the cool suit stopped working on about lap nine, which wasn't so bad for me but I thought about Rick having to double stint after I got out.
"He did an awesome job just to finish.
"We got caught in that scuffle at the first two corners and when one of the FPR cars was stopped there we got that damage on the front right and eventually that lead to the splitter breaking.
"I think there might have been some parts bent in the front end in that hit because the car didn't feel quite right.
"It looked like we were on for a top five then but we fell just short on fuel. We'll come back and have another big crack tomorrow."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"I was pushing as hard as I possibly could out there the whole race," said ToddKelly.
"I was probably a little too hard on the tyres and when I was really pushing it my times were not too bad in comparison with the leaders.
"We need to still be able to do those times but make the car a bit easier on its rears. It certainly wasn't a bad race car but the whole race I was driving it at 11 tenths and doing that I kissed the back of Whincup towards the end and spun.
"As it turned out we were in a bit of trouble anyway with our fuel economy so either way we would have been out of contention for a good result.
"It's good that we start with a clean slate tomorrow. We will be able to improve the car and have a crack in qualifying.
"If we can tidy up this issue with tyre wear we definitely have the pace to challenge up the front."
SCOTT DIXON - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"In some ways I think that stalling the car on the start was a good thing because I stayed out of all the carnage that happened a little further down the road," said Scott Dixon.
"It was not a great day. I think the car had good speed and the pace to be well inside the top 10. But I made a mistake at the start and Todd also got into some trouble there late in the race and spun.
"Then we were short on fuel as well so it was definitely all going on today, and not in a good way.
"Today was a tonne of fun and you are definitely still learning every lap and trying to figure out the strategy and things like that.
"This is definitely a great experience and I'd like to do a few more races here.
"It's cool that we get another race tomorrow as in IndyCar it is just one race per weekend. But I do wish that we had a warm-up in the morning to get a feel for the car before the race.
"But we will look to do better in qualifying with Todd and then get a better start and put it all together for a better race and a strong result."
-source: kelly racing