21 Nov 2017
BOTH Jason Bright and Todd Kelly won’t be pulling out of the Adelaide pitlane in March 2018.
Mainstays of the Supercars circuit for almost two decades, Bright and Kelly this week announced their retirements following the 2017 series decider in Newcastle.
Both notable as former drivers of the Holden Racing Team (now Walkinshaw Racing), the pair have tasted success on the Adelaide circuit, with Bright among the former outright winners of the event, while Kelly claimed a Saturday race win in 2007.
Bright announced his retirement from Supercars over the weekend, while Kelly confirmed his intention to step away from Australia’s premier racing series on Tuesday.
Bright start to Supercars in Adelaide
Driving the Pirtek AU Falcon for Stone Brothers Racing in 1999, Bright claimed the first ever pole position for the Adelaide 500 and has been a mainstay of the season opener, having only missed the 2000 event due to overseas race commitments.
Upon returning to Australia with HRT in 2001, he claimed honours for the first and only time on the Adelaide Street Circuit.
Bright in action in the Holden Racing Team VX Commodore
From highs to lows, he’s famous for walking away from one of the most spectacular crashes at the circuit in 2014 after his Team BOC Commodore rolled at Senna Chicane.
His career highlight is undoubtedly victory at the 1998 Bathurst 1000 in the Pirtek EL Falcon.
‘Toddler’ reveals knee battle
Bred in the Wakinshaw Racing stables as a member of the Holden Young Lions and later Kmart Racing and the Holden Racing Team, Kelly has become a favourite name among fans in Supercars.
For years branded the ‘baby-faced assassin’ of the series, Kelly’s most successful year came in 2005 when he paired with Mark Skaife to win the Bathurst 1000 and finished fourth in the championship.
In 2007, he won the Saturday race from 15th before finishing one second behind brother Rick in the Sunday race.
Kelly en-route to victory on Saturday in 2007
Now driving the Carsales Nissan Altima for Nissan Motorsport, Kelly revealed the burden of knee surgery on two occasions this year.
That comes additional to shoulder surgeries in previous years.
“To have a 20-year career doing something you love is pretty special,” Kelly said.
"It’s been a long, solid and clean career of being a professional driver, and even though I would probably change a few things if I had my time again, there’s not anything I regret over that period.
“I’ve had knee surgery twice this year, and it’s been a decent battle, although, there have been positives for having a dodgy knee - I had gone 20 years without perfecting left-foot braking,
"At SMP [Eastern Creek] this year I had to left-foot brake all weekend. By the end of the weekend, I’d gotten pretty good at it.
“I love driving, and that’s what kept me going for 20 years. I love getting the most out of a car. I love going around a fast corner having the thing sideways at 240km/h. The fear factor has not crept in as I’ve got older, so I’ve not lost any of that enjoyment at all.”
The Adelaide 500 will run from Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 March 2018. Tickets are on sale now.