It was a tough Sunday for the Jack Daniels Racing outfit in Townsville. A tight Qualifying session saw them start down the field and the race provided no change of luck for the Kelly Brothers.
The drivers had faced sunny, windy conditions for the 20-minute qualifying session for Race 15 of the V8 Supercar Championship.
All 28 drivers went out at the start of the session to get a feel for the circuit and learn the effects of the strong tail winds, on long main straight. After just a couple of laps, both Jack Daniel's Racing Commodores switched to new soft compound tyres and went out to set a time.
With just four minutes to go, the Jack Daniel's Racing duo of Rick and Todd Kelly bolted on another set of soft tyres and set out again in their quest for a fast lap. Ford Performance Racing claimed the first three grid positions, with David Reynolds grabbing pole position. Despite finishing just .6 of a second slower than Reynolds, Rick started 19th and Todd 20th.
With the entire field separated by just 1.8 seconds, it was always going to be a long hard race for the Jack Daniel's Racing duo.
After starting on the hard compound tyres, Rick worked his way up to 14th and was the first to pit on lap 13 for fuel and soft tyres resuming in 25th place. The following lap Todd pitted, topped up his fuel and replaced his hard tyres for softs.
Early in the race Todd felt something snap in the front end, (it turned out to be a broken roll bar) and from there the #7 Jack Daniel's machine became a handful to drive and wore out its tyres very rapidly, negating any further progress up the leader board.
Ricks race plan was scuttled when he and Fabian Coulthard touched, resulting in a punctured right front tyre and a slow lap into the pits. From there, his race, like Todds was about salvaging as many points as possible.
Todd pitted for soft tyres and fuel on lap 43 and the following lap Rick made his final stop for fuel and a set of already used soft tyres that he would have to nurse for the final 28 laps of the race.
Rick eventually finished the day 20th and moved up to 14th in the championship. Todd made one final pitstop on lap 59 under the final safety car of the day and finished 21st, remaining 11th in the Championship.
"The car had way to much understeer and then early on in the race something broke in the front of the car, I think it was the roll bar and then it was an absolute handful for most of the race. So it was a really tough day." was Todd's assessment of the troubled race
Brother Rick lamented the lack of luck for the team at the moment "We cant seem to get a bit of luck on our side at the moment. Obviously, yesterdays result was very pleasing for us. We didnt have the pace in qualifying this morning on one lap, but the car in the race felt quite good. Then we got the puncture and we were behind the eight ball for the rest of the race as there was no safety car until near the end, we didnt get a chance to make it all back up until the last few laps. By then, the tyres were hurting. It was disappointing we couldnt finish where the car was capable of, but nevertheless its good to get a couple of results on the board. "