Kelly primed for NASCAR redemption at Road America
Owen Kelly is hopeful of turning his luck around when he substitutes in the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the second time in two weeks at Road America.
Kelly will return to the #18 Toyota this weekend after a luckless run at a rain-hit Mid-Ohio two weeks ago.
The Tasmanian had spun out of the lead early but then found himself back in front on slick tyres when the rain lashed the track again late in proceedings.
Electing for a strategy of staying out in the hope the race would be stopped with lightning in the area, Kelly ultimately had to concede and pit for wet tyres.
“My wiper quit and once I had enough crap on the windscreen so I couldn’t see anything it just got to be impossible,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com on reflection of the Mid-Ohio result which saw him salvage 16th.
“When it rained again we stayed out because it looked like there was going to be lightning in the area.
“What people watching probably didn’t realise was that once there is a lightning bolt within 10 miles of the track they can it (end the race).
“If we would have driven around for four or five laps under yellow and one lightning bolt struck it would have been genius because we would have won the race.
“They would have red flagged it and it was over half race distance.
“I knew I was compromised anyway because it was raining again and I couldn’t see so we had nothing to lose.”
Kelly has experienced problems at his two previous starts at the celebrated Road America course.
“Obviously we are going there to try and win the thing,” he said.
“Hopefully we can have a few things fall our way and have a nice clean race.
“It might be a case of third time is a charm at that track.
“Previously I ran fourth after qualifying second in 2013 but we ran out of fuel just over halfway through the race and just ran out of laps in the end to make up the lost time.
“At my first start there I was fifth after we broke a front sway bar.
“Hopefully this time all the ducks will line up and we will be right there with a shot at the end.”
Kelly was in the frame to continue his pinch-hitting duties to step in the Kyle Busch Truck in Canada on September 4 but will miss the opportunity as another driver came in bringing a decent budget for the drive.
“Someone came along and bought that ride but if they couldn’t find anyone they were going to put me in the #51,” Kelly confirmed.