Milestones 'just a number' says Todd

  • 29/04/2015
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Despite his best start to a V8 Supercars season in years and the statistical landmarks he achieves at this weekend's Perth SuperSprint, Nissan Motorsport's Todd Kelly is definitely not getting carried away with his early-season form.

After six races Todd is 12th in the V8 Supercars drivers' championship, second only in the Nissan Motorsport squad to brother Rick in the Jack Daniel's Altima in ninth. Teammates James Moffat and Michael Caruso are 20th and 23rd respectively in the title chase.

At Barbagallo Raceway Kelly will equal Dick Johnson for ninth on the list of ATCC/V8SC round starts. He will start his 204th championship round at Barbagallo and has the fourth most round starts of active drivers behind Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander and Jason Bright.

Kelly, who won the 2005 Bathurst 1000 with Mark Skaife when he raced at the Holden Racing Team, shrugged off the milestones.

"It's just a number," he told "The past doesn't interest me much."

And Kelly says that thought process applies just as much to his current championship position, especially as the team works towards the mid-season debut of significant engine upgrades.

"The big thing is what happens now?" he said. "If we can keep it together, for the first time in three or four years we might be able to generate a bit of momentum and then carry on with it as the new bits and pieces for the car and the engine come online and then we will be off and running.

"It doesn't take much for things to turn around, it will only take one bad race or session and it can put the whole weekend off and you are on the back foot again."

Promisingly, Kelly was the highest finishing Nissan driver in a race at the Western Australian circuit last year with an eighth place.

He also comes off good form at the Tyrepower Tasmania Supersprint, where he was the leading qualifier among the Altima drivers with two 12ths.

Kelly is attributing his better championship position to improved reliability and a strong start to his relationship with new engineer Nathan McColl and new data engineer Jesse 'Pirate' Walker.

"I am happy with 12th because last year and the year before that the starts were disastrous.

"The first year we rolled the Nissans out I had a power steering let go. You lose one or two races at Adelaide and for the rest of the year you are playing catch-up for a massive bag of points.

"This year we got through Adelaide with a reasonable bag of points and Tassie was shaping up to be reasonable for the type of track it is. My biggest issue is I got turned around and sent back to last in one race and lost a fair chunk of points.

"Other than that we have been plugging away."

McColl took over from Perry Kapper as Kelly's engineer, the latter moving to Moffat.

"I had been with Pez for a couple of years and did not really have a relationship with Nathan," Kelly said. "Along with Jesse Walker, the three of us have become pretty close.

"We spend a lot of time talking about engineering and racing. That started even before we went to a track and it has worked pretty well. We are all really on the same page now, the thought process and the ideas we have are very rarely in different directions.

"We have been pretty conservative with the set-up of the car. We are not trying to smack it out of the park, just plugging away."

Kelly is also playing down his and Nissan Motorsport's prospects at Barbagallo, which is expected to be one of the team's most difficult events of the season.

"It won't be a walk in the park, it will be a challenging weekend," the 35-year old said. "If we do an excellent job I don't expect to exactly walk out of there with a trophy.

"It will be one of the more challenging tracks we go to, being realistic about it.

"We go there trying to stay as close to the top 10 as possible."

Kelly is expecting improved performances to come at circuits that suit the Altima better, while the engine upgrades are also expected to lift the car's performance capability.

"When we get our equipment lined up with the tracks we go well at, then our goals will be top fives or podiums," he said.

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