Owen Kelly strong in NASCAR debut

Victor Gonzalez Jr, Owen Kelly and Jacque Villeneuve at a press conference

Victor Gonzalez Jr, Owen Kelly and Jacques Villeneuve at a press conference

Australian NASCAR debutant Owen Kelly has ended the final practice session in sixth place ahead of this weekend’s Bucyrus 200 at the Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Kelly was in the top 10 in all four practice sessions held at the 4.048-mile (6.515 km) circuit in his #27 Ford Fusion of Baker Curb Racing.

His best result was second place in the first session.

The Tasmanian, who will drive with Jack Daniel’s Racing in the V8 Supercars endurance races this year, said that he is getting comfortable in the #27 Baker Curb Racing Ford Fusion.

“It wasn’t a bad day today to end up with sixth this afternoon,” said Kelly.

“Because I’ve never even driven a Nationwide car we’ve been trying lots of things and seeing how they work.

“We’ve been sure to work on our race package because that’s where it counts the most.

“I’m really happy with the car and the pace we have. I think we can qualify near the front and we’ve got a solid car for the race.”

Former Formula 1 World Champion and Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve was fastest in final practice at Road America today, with American sportscar driver Patrick Long in fourth place. Both Villeneuve, Long and Kelly will race V8 Supercars at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in Surfers Paradise, Australia in October 22-24 later this year.

Kelly said that he was in love with the Road America circuit.

“This is an awesome track. It would be unreal to have a V8 Supercar race here, that’s for sure,” he said.

“Having said that, these Nationwide cars actually drive really well around a road course.

“Road America is four miles long and has a huge straight. I love how this place has so much history as well.

“It’s one of the premier tracks in US and I grew up watching CART races here, so it’s very cool to be racing here in NASCAR.”

Qualifying and the race will be held tomorrow.

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