DALE WOOD COMPLETES JACK DANIEL'S RACING ENDURANCE LINE-UP Young Victorian driver Dale Wood will complete the Jack Daniel's Racing line-up for the upcoming V8 Supercar endurance events at Phillip Island and Bathurst. Wood has been a part of ...
DALE WOOD COMPLETES JACK DANIEL'S RACING ENDURANCE LINE-UP
Young Victorian driver Dale Wood will complete the Jack Daniel's Racing line-up for the upcoming V8 Supercar endurance events at Phillip Island and Bathurst.
Wood has been a part of Kelly Racing right from the initial launch of the team in March last year, competing in the first five events of the 2009 season in the team's #16 Commodore as well as working full-time at the team's workshop in the signwriting and graphic design department.
The former Motocross champion now gets his best ever opportunity in V8 Supercars as he partners 2005 Bathurst winner Todd Kelly in the team's #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore.
It will be Wood's third Bathurst 1000 start, having scored solid top 15 results in his first two attempts at 'The Great Race' in 2008 with Tasman Motorsport and last season alongside Jack Perkins in a Kelly Racing Commodore.
Todd Kelly says that Wood's recruitment to Jack Daniel's Racing endurance line-up is a reward for his continued improvement, hard work and impressive efforts in testing and Co-Driver practice sessions so far this season.
Wood's signing also confirms that Tasmanian driver Owen Kelly will partner two-time Bathurst winner Rick Kelly in the team's #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore, forming one of strongest driver combinations at this year's endurance events.
Kelly, no relation to Todd and Rick, proved his speed recently by finishing in fifth place at the Road America road course on his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut. Kelly has also excelled in testing and practice sessions with Jack Daniel's Racing since his signing in April.
Jack Daniel's Racing will complete its pre-endurance event test day at Winton Motor Raceway on August 30 before the L&H 500 kicks off the V8 Supercars 'season of endurance' on September 10-12 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circiut, followed by the biggest race of the season, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama on October 7-10.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"Dale has worked very hard over the last two years at Kelly Racing and we stick him in the car every opportunity we get at all our test days to give him a run and keep his eye in," said Todd Kelly.
"Since he has been out of the car full-time from the middle of last year, over the test days and miles he has done he has really come on in terms of his pace and he has shown a huge amount of maturity, which is hard for a driver who is not in a full-time drive.
"His sensible approach and the way he goes about things at the test days has made him a pretty big standout to the team for quite a while, so to be able to get him back in a car for the enduros is a positive thing for us.
"There will probably be a bit of pressure on him being in the Jack Daniel's car but the reason we chose Dale is because we think he is one of the guys that's capable of handling that role, given the way he has performed at the test days and in the co-driver practice sessions.
"Dale is good in that he doesn't have an ego and he is not going to be concerned about not being in the car much in practice and qualifying. It's also good that he is one of the few guys that has jumped in my car and been quite comfortable in it without changing much at all, which is good for me.
"It's going to be on for young and old this year at Phillip Island and especially at Bathurst in qualifying with all of the top drivers in there own cars. To try and get into the Top 10 Shootout and do a good job there is going to be harder than its ever been in the history of the event.
"So to have the seat position, car set-up and everything in the car almost identical to what it usually is, so that I am comfortable in the car and not having to change too much, is a huge positive as well.
"I'm confident that we can work quite well together as a pairing and that we will be a force at both Phillip Island and Bathurst, which are two tracks where we were very fast in the Jack Daniel's Commodores last season."
DALE WOOD - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"It's obviously really exciting for me to be joining Jack Daniel's Racing for the endurance events," said Dale Wood.
"From the test days and the laps that I've had this year I've been really happy and comfortable in the car.
"Todd and the team were happy with the job I've been doing to give me this opportunity and I'm rapt to go into these two rounds with as good a chance as anybody of being right up there in contention to win these races.
"The Jack Daniel's Commodores and Todd have both proven that they have the pace to run at the front, so this is a great opportunity for me and I'm very happy to be driving as part of the Jack Daniel's Racing squad.
"In my position and for all the other Co-Drivers out there, we all know that this year, with the new rules separating the full-time drivers, it's the main driver that is realistically going to win the race.
"It's the Co-Driver's job to go out there and circulate and not get caught up in any dramas and just keep handing the car back in perfect condition for the lead driver to be able to take home for the win or a podium.
"I think anybody who has done that Bathurst race even 15 times would say that they still learn things each year they race at that circuit. I've still got more to learn because it's such a complicated place.
"You also have to learn how the race pans out and experience counts for so much at Bathurst. You can't buy experience there so I'm really happy to be going there for the third time, having raced in the Fujitsu Series a couple of times there as well, ready to really help Todd challenge for a podium.
"Every year you go there you get a better understanding for both the track and the race itself and obviously this is by far my best opportunity yet at Bathurst, so I'm determined to give it everything and do the best job possible for Todd, Jack Daniel's and the entire team."
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"Owen has been to Bathurst plenty of times and has a lot of solid runs on the board up there so I'm pleased to have him in my Jack Daniel's car for the endurance events," said Rick Kelly.
"He is one of the best guys out there not already racing in the V8 Supercar main game full-time. Each time we have put him in one of our cars this year, he has been on the pace with minimal fuss.
"He has also had a great result in NASCAR on a road course this year and we are a similar height and size, so I'm confident that we have a combination capable of a very, very strong result come Phillip Island and, of course, Bathurst."
OWEN KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore:
"I'm really excited to be paired with Rick for the endurance races this year," said Owen Kelly.
"To be paired with a guy who regularly challenges for podium finishes week in, week out, has won at Bathurst twice and is a former series champion is about as good as it gets.
"I've honestly really enjoyed working with the Jack Daniel's Racing crew so far this season and we are all pumped about this year's endurance events.
"We certainly go to both Phillip Island and Bathurst quietly confident that we have what it takes to challenge anyone out there."
-source: jack daniel's racing