Rick Kelly achieved the best ever resultrecorded in a Nissan Altima on the weekend during the SKYCITY Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway, but whileSaturday meant a great finish in fifth, Sunday was a turn for the worse.
Kelly’s Jack Daniel’s Altima qualified deadlast in Race 18 and struggled for pace during the first of the day’s races.
“The car just hasn’t worked today,” Kelly’sengineer Erik Pender commented between Sunday’s two races.
“We didn’t really change it from yesterday, butwith the soft tyre it just hasn’t worked for us.”
While Saturday’s qualifying and race meant teamswere only allowed to run the hard control Dunlop tyre, Sunday rulings statedteams had to run both soft and hard compound tyres during each race.
Not only was the strategy of bolting on theright tyres at the right time a big consideration, but the way the car ran on both compounds, particularly with a very limited allocation of rubber forthe weekend.
While Kelly’s team chipped away on Sunday, thetight nature of the category meant it was near impossible for the squad toreturn to the front of the pack and back up the previous day's fifth placing.
“It’s hard – people are so competitive thatyou can make gains, but it’s hard for us to pass cars as well,” Pender said ofthe situation in Race 18. He couldn’t pinpoint one issue with the car – itwas slow all over the track.
Pender said they had some ideas for the secondrace – and Kelly ended up finishing 12th, even after starting 25th.