Kelly's promising day goes up in flames

19 May
Kelly Racing’s son of a gun was having a breakthrough performance before engine failure triggered Race 2’s first red flag
  • Kelly Racing were up until midnight repairing damage from Race 1

  • Mason Kelly was running fifth at the time of engine failure

  • #22 Mustang now faces third rebuild in two rounds

Mason Kelly’s prospects of making Sunday running for the Dunlop Series in Perth were looking shaky as the sun set on Saturday.

After qualifying in eighth, Kelly was running at the back of the pack after making a mistake, before being the innocent victim after Jett Johnson and Callum Walker collided.

However, a midnight rebuild from the Kelly Racing crew got the #22 Mustang turned around for Boost Mobile Qualifying today, an effort that was rewarded with fifth on the grid.

Kelly had maintained fifth through the first 10 laps of Race 2, however as he entered turn six the engine failed in spectacular fashion, with the car well alight by the time Kelly brought the car to a halt.

Kelly fire triggers chaos at Turn 6

The images of the #22 Mustang on fire were heartbreaking for the Kelly Racing squad, with Mason’s father and engineer Todd Kelly trying to take away the positives from the day.

" The engine's let go, which is quite rare in these cars, they were due to come out after this round for two fresh ones” Kelly told the broadcast.

“But the main thing is that Mason's alright, he was out of the car visibly pretty distraught after the weekend he's had, and he just hasn't been able to catch a break.

“But the good thing is he showed some real pace today. He did well in qualifying, and actually threw one of the corners away in qualifying and still ended up fifth, so he's got the pace.

"We just need to get a good, clean weekend under our belt.”

The engine failure is the latest stumbling block in what has been a difficult debut Super2 campaign for the 19-year-old, however Todd Kelly believes this will only serve to better Mason.

“The earlier that they can learn how hard it is, the better, it'll make him stronger,” Kelly said.

"He just needs to pick himself up and keep focused on the opportunity that he's got. He's got the talent to be fast.”

For the Kelly Racing team, it is now another long rebuild to get the car turned around for the NTI Townsville 500 in July.

The season started with a rebuild after Kelly had a heavy crash in practice at the Thrifty Bathurst 500, before the Saturday night rebuild to get the car ready for Race 2 in Perth.

“It's not the Kelly Racing of the old days when we had 75 people,” said Todd Kelly when asked about whether the car would be repairable for Townsville.

"We’ve got three now, but we've got some really, really good, high-level experience people that work with us. That's why we can turn the cars around so good at the track, even with the guys that we've got.

“So, it's going to make it really hard now when we get back to the shop, but we've got the people and the desire to do it."

After a promising weekend, Mason Kelly came away with no points for the weekend and sits 20th in points, whilst teammate Aaron Cameron continued his strong start to the year to remain 2nd in the standings behind Kai Allen.

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