Sydney: Jack Daniel's Racing preview

KELLY BROTHERS AIM TO END FIRST YEAR OF NEW TEAM ON A HIGH IN SYDNEY Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are looking to end the first season of their V8 Supercar team on a high at the Sydney Telstra 500 on the streets of Homebush...


Jack Daniel's Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are looking to end the first season of their V8 Supercar team on a high at the Sydney Telstra 500 on the streets of Homebush this weekend.

The Bathurst-winning brothers will hit Sydney for the 14th and final event of this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series following a year of hard work and encouraging progress for Kelly Racing, which opened its doors in March.

Todd Kelly will drive the team's spare car in Sydney, following a heavy crash at the Bigpond 300 in Perth two weeks ago.

Kelly's #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore sustained extensive left-hand-side damage and as a result the 30-year-old will now drive Chassis PE045, with the Jack Daniel's Racing crew working around the clock to prepare the car.

PE045 made its debut at the start of the 2007 season for Perkins Motorsport, also in the colours of Jack Daniel's. Much of the running gear from Kelly's regular chassis, PE049, has been transferred to the spare car.

Chassis PE045 was last driven by Jack Perkins at the Nikon SuperGP on the Gold Coast and has raced at three events this season (L&H 500 at Phillip Island, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama and Nikon SuperGP on the Gold Coast).

Todd Kelly is confident that the older chassis will still give him the speed needed to challenge for a podium finish in Sydney as the team looks to continue a late-season streak of strong form.

Jack Daniel's Racing, having scored three podiums from the last four races, is keen to post strong results at the new Sydney event, with the Australian head office of Brown-Forman, owners of the Jack Daniel's brand, situated on Parkview Drive in Homebush, less than 500 metres from the new street circuit.

Both Todd and Rick Kelly have a history of strong form in season finales, with three event wins between the pair at the final event of the year (see KEY FACTS for full details).


Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

QUESTION: For Sydney you are stepping into Kelly Racing's spare chassis, PE045, which is an older spec chassis that debuted at the start of 2007. But while it's an older chassis it will have a lot of very new, Kelly Racing-developed parts on it from your regular Jack Daniel's Commodore.

"Luckily from Perth, the incident wrecked basically the whole cage but didn't really touch the front suspension or the diff housing so that will all slot straight into the old chassis," said Todd Kelly.

"At the end of the day it's going to be fairly similar to what I've been driving, other than some little things like the seating position, which is a lot further inboard on our current cars compared to the car I'll be in at Homebush.

"There are a few little things in the chassis, but I'm quite excited about seeing what I can do in the old girl. I think that chassis may have even been the first VE that Larry (Perkins) ever built. So to jump in that car and see if I can get it into the top 10 and get a result out of it is a pretty exciting challenge."

QUESTION: Do you think there will be much of a difference in performance between the two chassis?

"I'm not sure. It will be a really good indication to see if we've made any gains in the chassis over that period. I'd hope that we have, but when it's things like that it's 10 things that you do that make a difference, not just a chassis.

"So I'm sure that our current chassis are a bit better and that the older one will be not quite as good, but it's probably not something that you're going to see on the stop watch and say 'jeez, the chassis is no good'.

"It's the front upright, it's the diff housing, it's the chassis and it's the bits that we've gained in the engine that all give you that last tenth (of a second).

"With a bit of luck I should still be reasonably competitive there."

QUESTION: What is the future of Kelly Racing chassis PE049?

"I think it will be repairable. It's a big job.

"It's come down to whether it's easier and quicker to build a complete new car or repair that one and whether we can repair it so it's identical to a brand new car.

"We think we can do that but in saying that, we need to get the crashed car onto the jig and have a proper assessment of it."

QUESTION: You now have your first Kelly Racing trophy and the pace of both Jack Daniel's Commodores has been really strong lately. Is it important to you to aim for a big result at the Sydney Telstra 500 and have a strong result before the start of the off-season?

"For sure. That's a massive event for our category and to have a good result there will be huge exposure for us.

"Jack Daniel's head office is about 500 metres away from the track. They've got a couple of hundred people that will be cheering us on and hopefully we can give those guys a result."

QUESTION: There has been so much work go on during Year One of Kelly Racing. Do you have to pinch yourself that we are nearing the last event of the season?

"Yeah it's getting to that point where we are doing a bit of a list of things that we need to do at the workshop but we haven't even had time to think about, like moving a few walls and benches and stuff like that.

"It's starting to sink in that we've nearly survived our very first year of running our own team so it's been good.

"It's probably been the most rewarding year that we've ever had in motorsport."

Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:

QUESTION: For the second time this year we are heading to a brand new circuit. Is learning new circuits a challenge you really enjoy?

"I'm quite excited to go to a new track because we've been in V8 Supercars for a number of years and it's always exciting to have the opportunity to learn an new circuit, because it doesn't happen that often," said Rick Kelly.

"That's a big highlight for us. There is a lot of hype built up around the Sydney round and the location that it's in, the track that we've got and also the entertainment and things as well.

"The fact that we are all pitted in one massive building, for me that's a big point of difference compared to where we normally go and I'm quite excited about it and can't wait to see what the pits are like inside 'a big shed'. It's going to be quite good.

"Certainly for Sydney it's something that we haven't managed to have before and it's something that we've all wanted to have for quite some time. That brings with it a lot of excitement.

"As far as the track goes, all the teams are doing a lot of homework on it now and trying to work out what sort of set-up to use. It looks like a track that is quite different to what we are used to.

"As a team now, we are just trying to work out what set-up to use, whether it's going to be a track a little bit like Indy and a surface like Indy so we will require a set-up like that, or whether it's an New Zealand or Adelaide -type track. So we've had some pretty constructive arguments on both sides and it's been a lot of fun.

"I think we've got exactly what we need in the car to start with and having four cars under our belt, we've got the ability to try a lot of set-up changes and come to grips with a track as quickly as anyone.

"So it should be good and for us the Jack Daniel's head office is about 500 metres away so it's a bit of a local event for ourselves and those guys, so we're pretty keen to get a great result in front of them at their home track in their front yard."

QUESTION: The last part of this season has really seen the team take a step-up. Is it important to make sure that you finish the season on a strong note?

"Yeah it is. Everyone always says that you're only as good as you're last result and in some cases that's true so you want to finish the year on a high.

"But in saying that, if we don't we've already proven that we're very strong anyway, so it wont matter too much, but it certainly will give myself and the guys a boost if Todd and I are towards the front end of the field.

"We've got a lot of work to do with all of our cars for next year and we're just keen to finish the year on a high and roar straight into 2010. We've been talking about that 2010 championship as a team for some time and been focused on that for some time as far as car preparation, team preparation and even driver training, physical training and stuff, we are very much building towards next year.

"We said earlier on that we were doing the last four rounds as a little bit of a championship and that's sort of the last round for the main championship and for ours, so we're quite focused on that, building towards next year."


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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Todd Kelly , Jack Perkins