V8 Supercars – Rick Kelly 4th In Points As Todd’s Run Ruined

June 19, 2011

V8 Supercars

Following the highs of the team’s second victory of 2011 on Saturday, Jack Daniel’s Racing has suffered a forgettable final day of the SKYCITY Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin, Northern Territory today.

Rick Kelly’s 20th place saw him slip to fourth place in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship standings after 13 of 28 races.

After qualifying in 14th place earlier in the day, Kelly lost ground when he spun his #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore on oil from another car’s exploding engine at Turn 1 on lap 11.

A solid fight back saw him claw his way back into the top 10, but a long final stint on the soft compound Dunlop tyres cost Rick, who fell to 20th place as grip from his tyres deteriorated.

Being held up on his qualifying laps hurt Todd Kelly, seeing him start from 23rd on the grid.

But set-up changes today saw Todd’s #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore show its best form yet, with the elder of the Kelly brothers well on track for a top 10 finish mid-race.

However disaster struck on lap 45 at Todd’s second pit stop when the air spike jammed in the side of the car after releasing air pressure to drop the car off its jacks.

While Todd was stopped just forward of his pit box, the air hose released under tension and collected Jack Daniel’s Racing Team Manager Aaron Zampese, who was uninjured.

Todd served a drive through penalty the next lap for failing to free the car of hoses before leaving the Pit Bay, but by this stage a second problem had surfaced, with the front left wheel working loose and causing damage to the front suspension.

The damage ended Kelly’s race, with the team currently investigating whether the wheel nut or drive pegs were the cause of the issue.

Shane Van Gisbegen won today’s 69-lap race ahead of Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom.

The seventh event of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship is the Sucrogen Townsville 400, held at the Townsville street circuit in Reid Park on July 8-10.

JACK DANIEL’S RACING QUOTEBOARD

RICK KELLY – #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“There are a lot of guys that have been up the front this year but are also having really inconsistent race form,” said Rick Kelly.

“Unfortunately we are one of them.

“If we could have even just a solid run at every round we would be laughing, but it’s obviously not possible at this point.

“With the soft tyre and where the category is at it’s tough to be consistent.

“Today as a team we made some mistakes on the run and unfortunately those two reasonably major mistakes were just a bit of a timing issue with pit stops and so on, and some oil on the track, and they both cost us.

“After the first mistake we managed to get back into the top 10 and then putting the softs on that early made us slip back to 20th.

“We were third in the points yesterday after the win and today we’ve slipped a spot. Fortunately a few of the guys that we are hovering around in the championship also had bad races.

“Looking to Townsville it’s traditionally been a tough round for us and we can’t have that this year.

“We have to go there and get good results so that when we do go to tracks that we are good at like Phillip Island we can really capitalise on it and make good ground in the championship.

“It’s not ideal to have days like today. We need to fix the things that went wrong and get on with it.”

TODD KELLY – #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“It’s been one of those weekends again,” said Todd Kelly.

“We really didn’t get the car right up until this morning and in qualifying my Jack Daniel’s Commodore was a lot better.

“Unfortunately I got held up on my best lap and it put me back to almost exactly where I started yesterday’s race.

“In the race today the car was really good. I was happy with it. I got in the wrong place a few times, got run wide and lost a few spots. Each time I settled back down and had a lot more pace than the cars around me.

“We were in a pretty good position when we came in to bolt the soft tyres on. We were in with a really good chance of getting well into the top 10. Then things turned pear-shaped.

“We had a drama with the spike on the car and a drama with the left front wheel. It tore all the drive pegs out of the upright so we had to park it.

“It’s not the best to add another DNF to our season. It’s the last thing we needed.

“I remember asking as I drove out of the pits what had happened in the pit stop and if the guys were alright. Aaron didn’t actually talk to me and all the guys were standing there waving me out.

“It wasn’t until after the race that I was told why – he got hit in the helmet and it knocked his microphone into his mouth. It’s lucky. It goes to show how dangerous it can be if the slightest thing goes wrong.

“At least the car is straight. Other than a few drive pegs missing off the front of the car it is in pretty good knick to go to the next one.”

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