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Todd Kelly: Replacing Rick ‘a big task’

Simon Chapman

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Wednesday 28th October, 2020 - 12:25pm

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Rick (left) and Todd Kelly

Todd Kelly says finding a replacement for younger brother Rick Kelly will be a challenge for his team heading into the 2021 season.

This week the Supercars Championship veteran of 20 years announced his retirement from full-time competition.

Kelly made his debut in 2001 with the Kmart Racing Team before going full-time with the Holden Young Lions squad the following year.

After 19 consecutive seasons as a full-time driver, one championship crown, and two Bathurst 1000 wins, Kelly has called time.

The team will now need to find a replacement to race alongside 25-year-old incumbent Andre Heimgartner.

“We now have a big task to fill Rick’s seat with a new driver which will certainly be challenging,” Todd Kelly wrote in his latest Kelly Racing column.

“But it’s also quite exciting as it will give Kelly Racing a completely different dynamic heading into the 2021 season.”

In the wake of Rick’s retirement, Todd paid homage to the Supercars stalwart.

The pair twice drove alongside each other in the 2006 Bathurst 1000 and Sandown 500 as well as in 2009 in the Great Race and the Phillip Island 500. From 2009 to 2017 the pair were team-mates at the Kelly Racing stable.

Todd said Rick has had a career many would admire.

“Many drivers come and go in Supercars and don’t achieve half the things that Rick has been able to do,” Kelly wrote in his latest Kelly Racing column.

“He’s won the Bathurst 1000 twice, won a V8 Supercar Championship title, stood on the podium 57 times – 13 of them on the top step as a race winner.

“He has had a career that many would be envious of.

“Rick is also one of the most well-respected drivers in pit lane both on and off the track and his engagement with the fans and sponsors has without a doubt been one of the driving forces behind the commercial success of our team, Kelly Racing.

“His breadth of talent outside of the race car has been really valuable – everything from being able to sticker his own car before a race meeting to filming his epic road trips and presenting on TV for the thousands of fans that enjoy our sport.”

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