Rick Kelly Takes Top 10 Clean-Sweep in Austin

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AUSTIN, Tex. – Rick Kelly has vaulted himself into 12th place in this year's V8 Supercars Championship after his best event of the 2013 season.

At the stunning Circuit of the Americas facility in Austin, Texas, Kelly took his Nissan Altima to two more top 10 results today (ninth and eighth), adding to his sixth and eighth yesterday.

The improving pace of Altimas was exemplified in qualifying, with Kelly starting both races from fifth place – the best qualifying result for Nissan in its return to top-level Australian motorsport.

The results have launched Kelly into 12th place overall in the title chase and confirms the Altima as an emerging threat in the V8 Championship.

While Kelly took a healthy haul of points at the Austin venue, it was a frustrating day for the other three Nissan Motorsport drivers.

Todd Kelly also enjoyed a top 10 starting position, qualifying ninth for Race 15, but found it difficult to move forward in either race. The former Bathurst 1000 winner eventually finished 14th and 19th in the 100km races.

Norton 360-backed drivers James Moffat and Michael Caruso also endured mistakes and misfortune.

After scoring his sixth top 10 race finish of the year yesterday, Moffat and the #360 crew made a number of changes to the Nissan Altima for today's races that ultimately proved ineffective.

Moffat had a steady run to 17th in the first race but was the victim in a clash with Dean Fiore early in the second race. He spun to the rear of the field, but put in a stellar comeback to take a credible 14th.

The results keep him placed 13th in the V8 Supercars Championship.

Michael Caruso started from 18th and finished 15th in the first race, but found the optimum set-up in the final qualifying session, starting from a season-best ninth.

Caruso ran with the front-runners for the majority of the race, only to be taken out by James Courtney and spun to the back of the pack. He eventually finished 24th.

The next event of the V8 Supercars Championship will be held at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on June 14-16.

QUOTES & RESULTS:

Rick Kelly – #15 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima

Qualifying Race 13: 10

Result Race 13: 6

Qualifying Race 14: 6

Result Race 14: 8

Qualifying Race 15: 5

Result Race 15: 9

Qualifying Race 16: 5

Result Race 16: 8

"To find some points this weekend and do our best to stay out of trouble whilst we've got such a great car is very exciting," Rick Kelly said.

"The team have worked so hard to deliver this project, it's really good to be able to deliver that solid result for them and they should hold their head high with that.

"We've got a great team, the car was fantastic all weekend, so we tuned it really well, all the stops were great, everything really went to plan this weekend.

"Obviously the straight line is still hurting us here and the other frustrating thing is we got ran off three out of the four races by the same guy and not much has been done about that, which is a little disappointing.

"All in all we've got to really happy with that and we learnt so much. The next round might be a little bit tougher for us, but I'm really glad we made some good progress while we had the car to do it."

James Moffat – #360 Norton 360 Nissan Altima

Qualifying Race 13: 16 (plus five grid spot penalty)

Result Race 13: 16

Qualifying Race 14: 10

Result Race 14: 10

Qualifying Race 15: 14

Result Race 15: 17

Qualifying Race 16: 22

Result Race 16: 14

"We just dropped the ball today. We qualified poorly, had a few issues in Qualifying 1 which led into Qualifying 2," said James Moffat.

"We just lost the balance of the car overnight, thinking we were doing the right things but they didn't work.

"When you qualify 22nd for the last race, it's so hard to recover. I got turned around and I was in last place for a bit. The Safety Car did help us, but I'm frustrated because I feel like we haven't really ended it the way we should have.

"The positive for today is that I managed to collect two mid-field finishes. We ticked the points over, but I would have liked a few more."

Todd Kelly – #7 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima

Qualifying Race 13: 17

Result Race 13: 25

Qualifying Race 14: 16

Result Race 14: 16

Qualifying Race 15: 9

Result Race 15: 14

Qualifying Race 16: 15

Result Race 16: 19

"It wasn't that good a run in qualifying for that second session so I started back a bit and we're just so vulnerable at the start of the race and in the opening laps on restarts at the moment, but once everything settles in the cars are really quite unbelievable," Todd Kelly said.

"Overall it's good in some ways and quite disappointing in others, the pace that we've got with the deficiency we've got in other areas is outstanding, so there's a huge amount of potential there.

"I'd go as far as saying that Rick would have near been on the front row if we had the amount of time that everyone else has to develop the engine, so a huge amount of potential and when we get that sorted out it will be a really good package."

Michael Caruso – #360 Norton 360 Nissan Altima

Qualifying Race 13: 25

Result Race 13: 20

Qualifying Race 14: 14

Result Race 14: 15

Qualifying Race 15: 18

Result Race 15: 15

Qualifying Race 16: 9

Result Race 16: 24

"It's very frustrating. We had an extremely good car, which was displayed in the last race where I qualified ninth," said Michael Caruso.

"The lap time that I could do in that second race was pretty good, so it's frustrating because we were running strong.

"Getting taken out is a never nice. We're going through a rough patch at the moment, but the positives are that the speed is there. We just need a little bit of luck to go our way, and hopefully it's just around the corner."

 

All weekend results and championship points

RESULTS: Race 13

1. Jamie Whincup

2. Craig Lowndes

3. Fabian Coulthard

4. Will Davison           

5. Garth Tander

6. Rick Kelly

7. Jonathon Webb

8. Mark Winterbottom

9. James Courtney

10. David Wall

16. James Moffat

20. Michael Caruso

25. Todd Kelly

 

RESULTS: Race 14

1. Jamie Whincup

2. Craig Lowndes 

3. Fabian Coulthard

4. Jonathon Webb

5. Shane Van Gisbergen 

6. Mark Winterbottom

7. Scott McLaughlin

8. Rick Kelly 

9. Will Davison

10. James Moffat

15. Michael Caruso

16. Todd Kelly

 

RESULTS: Race 15

1. Fabian Coulthard

2. Craig Lowndes

3. Jamie Whincup

4. Jonathon Webb

5. Shane Van Gisbergen

6. Garth Tander

7. Mark Winterbottom

8. Jason Bright

9. Rick Kelly

10. James Courtney

14. Todd Kelly

15. Michael Caruso

17. James Moffat

 

RESULTS: Race 16

1. Jamie Whincup

2. Fabian Coulthard 

3. Shane Van Gisbergen

4. Garth Tander

5. Craig Lowndes

6. Mark Winterbottom

7. Jason Bright 

8. Rick Kelly  

9. Jonathon Webb 

10. James Courtney

14. James Moffat

19. Todd Kelly

24. Michael Caruso

 

2013 V8 SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP

1. Jamie Whincup, 1247

2. Craig Lowndes, 1105

3. Will Davison, 1029

4. Fabian Coulthard, 984

5. Jason Bright, 945

6. Shane Van Gisbergen, 907

7. Garth Tander, 888

8. Mark Winterbottom, 861

9. James Courtney, 825

10. Jonathon Webb, 768

12. Rick Kelly, 651

13. James Moffat, 638

22. Michael Caruso, 398

26. Todd Kelly, 328

 

 

 

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Issued by Nissan