Rick Kelly Second in Championship After Hamilton‏

April 17, 2011

V8 Supercars

Jack Daniel’s Racing driver Rick Kelly has risen to second in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship points standings after a sixth placed finish in the Sunday race of the ITM400 in Hamilton, New Zealand today.

Kelly now sits just 81 points behind series leader Jamie Whincup after six races following a breakout weekend for Jack Daniel’s Racing at the Hamilton street circuit.
Rick and Todd Kelly qualified first and second for today’s 59-lap race in their Jack Daniel’s Commodores, but a series of incidents meant they were unable to repeat Saturday’s result, which saw the brothers score a double podium with Rick earning Kelly Racing’s first race win.

Rick Kelly was in third place in the closing stages of the race, pushing hard in his #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore to keep Garth Tander behind him.

With just six laps remaining Rick clipped the tyre bundle on the back straight chicane, damaging the front right corner of his front bar, causing it to rub on his front right tyre.

The damage saw Rick drop three positions in the closing stages, but the vital points scored from the sixth place finish were enough to rocket him up the championship order following his Saturday win.

Todd Kelly was on track for his fourth top 10 finish of the season aboard the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore, despite not enjoying the same car pace he had in Saturday’s race.

After qualifying in second place Todd gradually slipped down the order, but was securely in seventh place when crashed out of contention by Tony D’Alberto with six laps remaining.

The impact to the driver’s door of the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore car was severe, sending Todd into the Turn 2 wall, but amazingly, the car was able to continue and after two pit stops for repairs he was able to limp home in 15th place, lifting Todd to 14th in the championship points.

Shane Van Gisbergen won the second and final race of the ITM400 Hamilton today ahead of Lee Holdsworth and Garth Tander.

The fourth event of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship is the Trading Post Perth Challenge held at Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia on 29 April to May 1.

RICK KELLY – #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore

“Everyone is still pretty stoked to get our first win here this weekend,” said Rick Kelly.

“It’s a bummer it was on Saturday rather than Sunday because now we have finished sixth and we are all going home with our tails tucked between our legs to a certain extent.

“Shane (Van Gisbergen) did a great job today. He passed me quite aggressively, and fairly, and drove away. He had the car to win and he should be pretty stoked to have his first race win here in New Zealand.

“These are great steps forward for us. I think it’s actually good that we finished sixth today in some ways, because we go away a little bit upset and we will work really hard now to get a good results at the next event.

“The old chassis treated us well all weekend, it had great pace in both races and I’ll get myself a little bit more comfortable in it for Perth. It will only take just an extra little bit of pace and we will be able to run right at the front in the dry.

“I’ve been thinking about getting that first win for Kelly Racing on a daily basis to be honest,” said Rick Kelly.

“We wanted it quite badly, really badly, and I didn’t expect it to come this early.

“We’ve been doing some hard work and we still have a little bit to go. We’re pretty stoked about it and it means a lot to us.

“We’ve jumped up to second in the points, which also means a lot, and we’ve had some bad luck at the start of the year as well.

“Taking that into consideration we are looking quite good. We are only 81 points from the championship lead but it’s not going to be easy to peg that back.

“We are going to have to do some hard work. As you have seen here everyone is prepared to do that.”

TODD KELLY – #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore

“We had a good a look at the weather and we opted for a set-up that was going to work in the wet and the dry,” said Todd Kelly.

“As it panned out it was dry for the whole race and the Jack Daniel’s Commodores didn’t have the pace that they should have.

“That made it a little bit hard out there but we were trucking along in seventh and we had the guys behind us covered without too many dramas.

“Then I got collected right at the end and I thought the race was all over, because it was probably one of the hardest hits I’ve had in a while, but luckily the boys belted it back into shape, got me back out and we ended up getting 15th.

“So not the end to the weekend we wanted but certainly overall a good one for the team.

“All four cars have gained a hell of a lot from this weekend.

“We are all on the same page now and we haven’t had a lot of time with the new stuff we have in the car, yet we’ve managed to have pretty good momentum for the last few rounds.

“That’s extremely encouraging, to have that kind of consistency when everything is so new, “I can’t wait to get to Perth and keep chipping away at it.”

RESULTS: Race Two Series Race 6
1. #9 Shane Van Gisbergen 59 laps
2. #33 Lee Holdsworth
3. #2 Garth Tander
4. #6 Will Davison
5. #49 Steve Owen
6. #15 Rick Kelly
7. #4 Alex Davison
8. #39 Russell Ingall
9. #17 Steven Johnson
10. #888 Craig Lowndes

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