ON TRACK: V8 Supercars driver Rick Kelly, of the Jack Daniels Racing team, checks out the Queensland Raceway circuit for the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 starting today.
ON TRACK: V8 Supercars driver Rick Kelly, of the Jack Daniels Racing team, checks out the Queensland Raceway circuit for the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 starting today. CONTRIBUTED

Finely-tuned mission for large Kelly gang at Raceway

THE Ipswich 400 blasts off at Queensland Raceway today after a hectic week of preparations.

One of the busiest drivers will be Jack Daniel's Racing's Rick Kelly, who along with his brother Todd, operate the four-car Nissan Motorsport operation.

Transporting the entire team from its Melbourne base is a well-oiled machine.

"When we travel interstate for events such as this weekend, we've got to be completely self-sufficient," Rick said.

"In our pair of B-Double transporters, not only do we have the four Jack Daniel's and Norton Nissan Altimas, but we have to pack every single spare part and tool that we could possibly require over the weekend.

"Touch wood, we won't be needing to dip too far into the spare parts bin this weekend. But in total there are millions of dollars invested in all of the equipment we bring to the track.

"The other element of the logistics of going racing is the human side.

"All told, we have 48 staff here trackside, from mechanics and engineers, to guys stickering the cars, marketing staff, and catering, so there are a lot of people to organise."

Rick said an innovation this weekend was the ability for fans to get a personalised name and number on the back of the shirts they buy trackside.

During yesterday's preparations at Queensland Raceway, teams like Jack Daniels Racing set up their workshop areas in the pit lane garages.

"As drivers, one important part of set-up day is to do a track walk, where we go around the circuit with the engineers to make some reference points, and see if there have been any changes to the track in the past 12 months," Rick said.

"QR looks like a simple circuit, but you have to be very well prepared to get a quick lap time here."

In a first for the Queensland Raceway event, Sunday will feature the True Colour Track Walk, where race goers will be invited to get up close and personal with the cars on the grid, with drivers in attendance for photos and autographs.

"For us it's very exciting to have the fans join us on the track and get so close to the machinery," Rick said.

On-track action blasts off today with three 20-minute practice sessions for the V8 Supercars championship.


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