Jack Daniel’s Racing’s Rick Kelly profited from a restart tangle to snatch an unlikely victory in the opening race of the SKYCITY Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin.

In what had been a relatively uneventful race, Kelly who had started in twelfth, was handed the win in dramatic fashion.

Until a Tim Slade breakdown brought out the safety- car, the top three had remained unchanged for 35 laps. But a moment of chaos at the restart two laps later saw all three – Orrcon Steel FPR’s Mark Winterbottom, Team Vodafone’s Jamie Whincup and SP Tools Racing’s Shane Van Gisbergen all go off the circuit. After a slow run on to the front straight by Winterbottom, the top four had run side-by-side heading into the left-hand turn one, when they came together. Kelly avoided the skirmish and jumped from fifth to first taking his second victory of the season and the 11th race win of his career.

“I can’t believe that just happened!” exclaimed Kelly.

“You’re allowed to overlap after the last corner and everyone did. I thought I braked too early into turn one. Our tyre life was not as good as the top three so we were lucky to get it. We’re lucky, but we’re stoked.”

Jim Beam Racing’s Steven Johnson and Team Vodafone’s Craig Lowndes also benefited from the drama up front, finishing second and third.

Fujitsu Racing GRM’s Lee Holdsworth grabbed fourth and Trading Post FPR’s Will Davison took fifth. Davison had started in 20th but gained several places by pitting before the first of the three safety-car deployments.

Rounding out the top-ten were Wilson Security Racing’s Tony D’Alberto, van Gisbergen recovering to seventh, Jana Living Racing’s Jason Bargwanna, Whincup and VIP Petfoods’ Steve Owen. A furious Winterbottom had to settle for 15th.

Race 12 results:

Pos Entrant Driver Vehicle Fastest Lap Fastest Lap Time Race Time Laps Points
1 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Commodore VE2 3 01:11:3532 54:30:8593 42 150
2 Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson Falcon FG 6 01:11:6912 54:33:3710 42 138
3 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes Commodore VE2 6 01:11:4547 54:35:3864 42 129
4 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth Commodore VE2 2 01:11:7131 54:36:3440 42 120
5 Trading Post FPR
Falcon
Will Davison Falcon FG 6 01:12:0633 54:36:9235 42 111
6 Wilson Security Racing Tony D’Alberto Falcon FG 4 01:11:7705 54:37:2993 42 102
7 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen Falcon FG 4 01:11:3992 54:37:5022 42 96
8 Jana Living Racing Jason Bargwanna Commodore VE2 4 01:11:8886 54:38:1625 42 90
9 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup Commodore VE2 4 01:11:3263 54:39:3118 42 84
10 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen Commodore VE2 3 01:11:5935 54:43:7170 42 78
11 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso Commodore VE2 2 01:11:5932 54:43:7896 42 72
12 Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy Commodore VE2 3 01:11:6908 54:43:8597 42 69
13 Bundaberg Racing Fabian Coulthard Commodore VE2 17 01:12:1021 54:44:3472 42 66
14 Jim Beam Racing James Moffat Falcon FG 3 01:12:1748 54:44:7099 42 63
15 Orrcon Steel FPR
Falcon
Mark Winterbottom Falcon FG 4 01:11:2661 54:46:4815 42 60
16 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly Commodore VE2 19 01:12:2112 54:47:8562 42 57
17 Triple F Racing Dean Fiore Falcon FG 6 01:12:1281 54:48:3943 42 54
18 Toll Holden Racing
Team
Garth Tander Commodore VE2 22 01:11:7613 54:49:2639 42 51
19 Irwin Racing Alex Davison Falcon FG 3 01:12:0326 54:49:5881 42 48
20 The Bottle-O Racing Team Paul Dumbrell Falcon FG 4 01:11:5221 54:53:2873 42 45
21 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade Falcon FG 3 01:11:4523 54:53:7499 42 42
22 Mother Energy Racing Team Jonathon Webb Falcon FG 39 01:11:2620 54:54:0242 42 39
23 Supercheap Auto
Racing
Russell Ingall Commodore VE2 39 01:11:1796 54:54:8928 42 36
24 Gulf Western Oil
Racing
Warren Luff Commodore VE2 3 01:12:3154 54:50:6604 41 33
25 Toll Holden Racing
Team
James Courtney Commodore VE2 3 01:12:2046 54:50:8643 40 30
DNF Fair Dinkum Sheds
Racing
Karl Reindler Commodore VE2 4 01:12:2250 51:13:7427 38 0
DNF Team Boc Jason Bright Commodore VE2 4 01:11:5924 11:00:8510 9 0
DNF Stratco Racing David Reynolds Commodore VE2 4 01:11:8157 11:01:9188 9 0