Team owner wants Kelly benched

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 06/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Incensed team owner Charlie Schwerkolt has called for V8 Supercars to introduce a football-style suspension system for drivers after the Jeld-Wen Falcon driven by Jack Perkins suffered $50,000 worth of damage in Race 20 at the Castrol 500 Townsville - Driven by TAFE Queenslandyesterday.

Perkins had just completed a pass on factory Nissan Altima driver Todd Kelly at turn two and the two tangled after exiting from the corner.

The Falcon slammed head-on into the wall, destroying the front-end off the car. Fortunately, Perkins suffered no injuries in the incident while Kelly raced on to finish 18th.

A herculean effort by the Jeld-Wen and Ford Performance Racing crews got the FG II Falcon out in time for race two, with Perkins finishing in 21st.

"I am pissed off that two guys are fighting for 20th spot, Jack cleanly passes Todd, and he deliberately tagged him into the wall," Schwerkolt said.

"It was unnecessary, Todd could have avoided it and it has cost me around $50,000.

"In that situation I don't think a points penalty suffices ... in any sport in a situation like that you are on the bench."

Schwerkolt didn't stop there, accusing Kelly of "sometimes being a dirty driver".

But Kelly refused to accept the blame for the crash or Schwerkolt's dirty driving claim.

"When a car is damaged I know exactly what that is like to deal with financially and for the crew," he said. "But at the end of the day there was a little bit of stuff going on there and I think the (Jeld-Wen) guys need to have a good look at their in-car and have a bit of think before they say anything they probably shouldn't.

"When was the last time I drove someone into the wall or was accused of that?"

Currently, the punishment system for V8 Supercars drivers can be points deductions, fines and occasionally, time penalties.

Exclusions can be handed out, but they are extremely rare and targeted at teams that commit a technical breach.

But Schwerkolt does not believe the punishment for a significant driving breach fits the cost and implications of the offence.

That's why he is proposing the ability to punish drivers guilty of substantial breaches by suspending them from a race, just as footballers can be suspended from matches. And in this case, he says Kelly should be handed that penalty.

"If the discretion is bad enough he should sit the next race out, and that incident is bad enough. He has done it plenty of time before.

"He should park the car."

Schwerkolt said that significant monetary fines should also be part of the punishment system.

"It's no good being a point penalty. If we can't do a benching for a really bad driving standards breach, then he should be penalised financially, maybe as much as $20,000."

Schwerkolt said if he wasn't happy with the decision on the incident made by investigating officer Jason Bargwanna he would be prepared to appeal to the meeting stewards.

The crash was yet another blow for the Jeld-Wen team and Perkins, who has struggled in 2014 to find the pace to move hisFalcon off the back few rows of the grid.

"His confidence is down and he is pissed off because he is not getting the points he should be getting," Schwerkolt said. "Unfortunately that was major setback."

Schwerkolt praised the effort to rebuild the car, which was still being repaired on the grid: "It was just outstanding," he said.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter