Rick Kelly says he never doubted his himself during his Supercars win drought which came to an end in Race 13 at the Winton SuperSprint.
The Nissan Motorsport driver ended a winless streak of 210 races stretching back to Sandown in 2011 following yesterday’s emotional triumph.
Kelly’s triumph was made all the more poignant having arrived just days after Nissan declared plans to end its factory program with Kelly Racing at the end of the year.
The Nissan Motorsport co-owner had scored 12 race wins, including two Bathurst 1000 wins, prior to Saturday’s victory although his last was more than six years ago.
The bulk of those wins came early in his career before the inception of Kelly Racing in 2009.
Kelly, who won the 2006 Supercars championship, said he always had the belief he would return to the top step of the podium.
“No,” said Kelly, when asked if he ever doubted himself.
“It just gives you the shits, doesn’t it?
“We’ve driven really good races and finished outside of the top 10, and had good battles with these guys and a lot of other great drivers as well.
“It changes the way you do things a little bit. It makes you more nervous when you’re in front so you’ve just got to get up there and get that out of the way so you can race up there with confidence.
“We ticked that box today. We got to the front and raced well, didn’t make any mistakes and grabbed the trophy. So it gives us good confidence and there’s still plenty for me to improve.
“I didn’t do a good enough job in qualifying this morning which made me real angry.
“There was another tenth-and-a-half on the table. That still is the focus and the biggest area I need to improve.”
After a challenging week, where he has stayed out of the limelight following Nissan’s exit, Kelly praised his team for allowing him to step back from the day-to-day running and focus on his driving.
“We’ve got the team to a point where we’ve got great people within the team to run it very well,” Kelly continued.
“Nick (Ryan, General Manager) and Todd (Kelly) and everyone else there have allowed me to do what you’ve seen today.
“You can’t compete with these guys (fellow drivers) who are just worried about driving a car when you’re doing a whole lot more than that.
“So it’s been appreciated and today really shows that it was a good thing for us to allow everyone to pigeon-hole their focus.”
Kelly heads into the final day of the Winton SuperSprint lying 11th in the standings.