V8 Supercars – Kelly Brothers Look To Break Townsville Hoodoo

July 5, 2011

V8 Supercars

Jack Daniel’s Racing team-mates Todd and Rick Kelly are determined to break their Townsville hoodoo at the Sucrogen Townsville 400 in northern Queensland this weekend.

The Townsville event, like the Kelly brothers’ four-car operation, was established in 2009 and is already one of the blue-ribbon events on the V8 Supercars Championship schedule.

But for the past two years the Townsville street circuit has proved a tough venue for Jack Daniel’s Racing, with the Kelly brothers keen to turn that around this weekend.

The team’s Commodores have adopted a new engineering direction in 2011, with the hard work and new set-up paying dividends this season, especially for Rick Kelly, who currently sits fourth in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship standings.

With vastly different car set-ups now being utilised compared to 12 months ago, Jack Daniel’s Racing is quietly confident that they can turn around the tough times the team has endured in Townsville for the past two seasons. 

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

“Townsville is one of the biggest events on our calendar now and it’s great to get up to northern Queensland to enjoy some warm weather,” said Todd Kelly.

“It’s a fantastic track, extremely challenging and it’s extremely hard to get a good car set-up for it’s twisty layout.

“We’ve struggled with Townsville more than any other circuit on the calendar. This year, the things we have done to our cars have us a lot more confident and I’m really looking forward to getting back there and seeing exactly where we end up.

“A lot of the issues we’ve had in general are really enhanced on the Townsville track. We’ve fixed a lot of those problems since we raced there last so our Jack Daniel’s Commodores should go a lot better there this year.

“Soft tyres are always a bit of a drama for us. We go very well on the hard tyres and we’ve done a lot of work to improve our soft tyre performance.

“In my particular case I didn’t get a chance to use the soft tyre on my Jack Daniel’s Commodore in Darwin. I came into the pits to put the softs on and we had a drama with the wheel nut and it ended our race.

“I’m not sure whether we have completely cured our soft tyre performance problems but Townsville will certainly be a good place to see where we are at with that.

“There’s been a lot of work go into that area of things so we are all very keen to see how much of an improvement we have made.”

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

“We are a little bit nervous about going back to Townsville, but excited at the same time because it’s a great opportunity for us to turn our past results there around,” said Rick Kelly.

“Townsville is one of the best events we go to. It’s similar to Darwin in that the whole town gets behind it, all the locals know we are in town and it’s a warm weather event during our Melbourne winter.

“As a team we need to be careful in Townsville. We had average results there in 2009, where we were around the bottom end of the top 10.

“Heading into last year we were focused on getting better results and aiming for the podium, but again we struggled for pace compared to our rivals.

“So the entire engineering department has been working hard on Townsville and they are quietly confident that we have a good plan in place for that circuit.

“I’m confident that we have done enough work but you never know for sure until you roll the car out of the truck.

“We want to be on the pace early on in practice, because I’ve only got two short practice sessions in my Jack Daniel’s Commodore as we are in the top half of the championship points.

“That’s only two sessions to turn your form around if you are not on the pace straight away and that only gives you time for five or six small set-up changes.”

On different in team’s cars compared to Townsville 2010 …

“There are a lot of changes on our cars compared to last year,” said Rick Kelly.

“Each race we go this year we really can’t look at last year’s set-ups to use as a guide because it just doesn’t relate because our cars are so different now from an engineering perspective.

“Our form has been much stronger this year as a result. Everywhere where we have run hard tyres we have been in the top few, give or take a few occasions. Throwing the soft tyre into the mix sees us struggle a little more but we are working hard on that.

“Townsville will see a lot of hard tyre running but with one set of the soft tyres thrown for each race.”

On filming reality TV show Shannons Supercar Showdown …

“It’s been a very busy month for us. Basically since we got back from Darwin we have been working day and night on the new reality TV show Shannons Supercar Showdown, which will debut on 7mate on July 23,” said Rick Kelly.

“It’s been a massive learning curve for us, having cameras around the team for the past few weeks. Todd and I have been learning our lines and getting to know how a TV show is put together.

“It has meant long hours for us but a lot of fun as well. It’s a big workload but it’s been a huge buzz for the entire team.

“We haven’t lost focus on what we are here for – that is to win races. But we have been putting in a lot of extra hours to ensure that we can balance the TV show filming with the race team.”

KEY FACTS:

– Rick Kelly third in laps led tally in 2011 …

* After 13 of 28 races in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship, Rick Kelly has led 77 laps, the third best of any driver, behind only Jamie Whincup (276 laps led) and Mark Winterbottom (80 laps led)

* Rick Kelly has two race wins, three podiums (two wins and a second) and a pole position so far this season, seeing him sit fourth in the championship standings entering Townsville

– Todd and Rick take on role as judges for ‘Shannons Supercar Showdown’ …

* It has been a busy few weeks for Jack Daniel’s Racing drivers and Kelly Racing co-owners Todd and Rick Kelly. The brothers are judges on the new reality TV show ‘Shannons Supercar Showdown’, which sees 10 young drivers vie for a spot alongside the show’s host Grant Denyer in a Shannons and Mars-backed Kelly Racing Commodore at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 this October

* ‘Shannons Supercar Showdown debuts on 7mate on July 23 and also features extensive behind-the-scenes footage of Jack Daniel’s Racing, both at the race track and at Kelly Racing’s facility in the Melbourne suburb of Braeside

– Co-Drivers on hand at Sucrogen Townsville 400 …

* Jack Daniel’s Racing endurance co-driver Owen Kelly will drive the #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore in Practice 1 and 2 at the Townsville street circuit this weekend. As a result of sitting in the top 50 percent of the championship standings, Rick Kelly is not permitted to drive until Practice 3

* Fellow Jack Daniel’s Racing endurance driver David Russell has also been entered by the team as a potential co-driver for Practice 1 and 2 in Todd Kelly’s #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore. Russell will be in Townsville racing in the Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series for Team Jayco

– Hard tyres with one set of soft in both races in Townsville …

* Each car will be allocated one set of Dunlop’s soft compound tyre for each race in Townsville, replicating the format for the Sunday race in Darwin last month

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