Jack Daniel’s Racing Sydney Motorsport Park 360 Race 18 Report

For the first time in four years, the V8 Supercar Championship was welcomed back to Sydney Motorsport Park.

With a reconfigured and partly resurfaced track and only two 30-minute practice sessions before qualifying today’s 36-lap 140km race, the pressure was on the drivers and crews to quickly find a competitive setup.

RACE 18 – 36 LAPS, 140KM
Jack Daniel’s Racing duo Todd and Rick Kelly both had a solid run in today’s 18th race of the 2012 V8 Supercar Championship.

From his 11th starting spot, Todd was shuffled back to 13th on the first lap and held steady for many laps managing both fuel and tyres.

Todd was one of the last to pit and as a result, led the race on lap 20 before pitting on lap 21 for fuel and a change to the soft compound tyres. After the pitstop he dropped to 20th and worked solidly to work his way back to 14th.

Rick started 21st and like Todd worked hard to manage his tyres and fuel. Rick pitted on lap 22 for fuel and a change to soft compound tyres after topping the leader board briefly and returned to the track in 22nd place. From there Rick worked his way forward to finish 17th.

Rick Kelly – “We had a pretty tough qualifying session but made some big changes for the race and the car was really good. We were able to pass a lot of cars while on both compound tyres. The tyre degradation and our race pace was really positive for us today and we take that confidence with us tomorrow”.

Todd Kelly – “The car was pretty good on its own and was really strong in some places and not so much in others. I could get the car around on my own on par with the guys around me but where I was weak were the passing spots so I couldn’t really pass the cars I caught. We will just retune the car a little to improve our weak areas and be ready for tomorrow”.

The 20-minute qualifying session saw Jack Daniel’s Racing’s Rick and Todd Kelly take to the track on their first set of ‘green’ hard compound tyres for the weekend. After running a few laps on these tyres, they both pitted and replaced them with the soft compound ’green’ tyres. With 5 minutes to go, the track was virtually empty and pit lane full, as all bar one of the 28 cars were just waiting to roll their qualifying dice. With just over 4 minutes to go pit lane came alive as the cars went out for their qualifying run.

This session proved very positive for Todd who qualified just .34 sec off pole position. Rick’s qualifying lap was hampered by traffic and he finished the session in 21st, but this was just over half a second off pole. Jamie Whincup finished on top of the timesheets while Jonathan Webb created some V8 Supercar history with his first front row start.

1 Jamie Whincup
2 Jonathan Webb
3 Will Davison
4 Michael Caruso
5 Mark Winterbottom
6 Craig Lowndes
7 David Reynolds
8 Shane Van Gisbergen
9 Tony D’Alberto
10 Russell Ingall
11 Todd Kelly
21 Rick Kelly

Lap times continued to tumble in the second and final 30-minute session of the day and by the time the chequered flag was displayed, 6 drivers had surpassed the previous session’s fastest time.

Both Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodores also improved their lap times with Rick almost .5 sec faster while Todd shave .24 sec of his previous best time. Once again Rick and Todd spent the session on old tyres meaning they have their full compliment of fresh soft and hard tyres for qualifying and race 18 later today.

1 Jonathan Webb
2 Craig Lowndes
3 Jamie Whinchup
4 Garth Tander
5 David Reynolds
6 Michael Caruso
7 James Moffat
8 Jason Bright
9 Mark Winterbottom
10 Fabian Coulthard
19 Rick Kelly
25 Todd Kelly

Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick and Todd Kelly finished the first practice session 16th and 22nd in their Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodores, separated by less than .2 of a second.

Topping the time sheets with a new lap record was Lee Holdsworth.

Saving their new tyres for qualifying and race 18, both Rick and Todd used old hard compound tyres as they worked their way through a suspension set up program to find a sweet spot for the two black and white Jack Daniel’s Racing cars. Kelly Racing’s entry for Karl Reindler finished the session 5th fastest while Russell Ingall continued to show the strong form he displayed at the last round in Queensland.

1 Lee Holdsworth
2 Craig Lowndes
3 Jamie Whinchup
4 Will Davison
5 Karl Reindler
6 Mark Winterbottom
7 Russell Ingall
8 Steven Johnson
9 Garth Tander
10 Jonathan Webb
16 Rick Kelly
22 Todd Kelly

RACE 18 TOP 10
1 Craig Lowndes
2 Mark Winterbottom
3 Will Davison
4 Garth Tander
5 Russell Ingall
6 James Courtney
7 Shane Van Gisbergen
8 Michael Caruso
9 Jonathan Webb
10 Jason Bright
14 Todd Kelly
17 Rick Kelly

1 Mark Winterbottom 2108 points
2 Jamie Whincup 2088
3 Will Davison 2005
4 Craig Lowndes 1946
5 Shane Van Gisbergen 1568
6 Garth Tander 1443
7 Tim Slade 1401
8 Fabian Coulthard 1330
9 Lee Holdsworth 1244
10 James Courtney 1091
4 Todd Kelly 1046
16 Rick Kelly 997