SUPERCARS PHILLIP ISLAND 500
Scott McLaughlin's stunning opening Supercars victory on Phillip Island might have been the highlight but Rick Kelly's performance in his 500th career start was a close second.
The veteran Nissan driver didn't have high hopes for Saturday's first 250km race after difficult practice sessions on Friday.
So much so Kelly was left thinking the highlight of his weekend was going to be a "schnitzel night".
While McLaughlin slugged it out for the entire 57-lap affair with Red Bull Holden champion Jamie Whincup, Kelly quietly went about his business to finish third from sixth on the grid.
It was the 35-year-old's first podium since the 2015 finale in Sydney, ending some lean and frustrating years.
"It might have looked like a boring old race but, in the cockpit, it wasn't," Kelly said.
"It came down to doing a good job in the first lap, which we did and no one really went quicker after that."
McLaughlin and Whincup go into Sunday's second 250km race, battling it out at the top of the championship standings.
The New Zealand ace has jumped in front by a point after his fifth career win on the island circuit.
Kelly languishes in 16th in the standings but his podium finish has him believing again ahead of Sunday's second instalment.
"Traditionally, we try and tune the s**t out of it (the car) overnight and end up going backwards so we might leave it and see how it goes," Kelly joked.
In front of Kelly was McLaughlin, who was second for most of the race after Whincup's brave overtaking call on the opening turn.
He trailed Whincup into both of their pit stops as the tactical games began, with the former having the better of the exits.
But the young driver upstaged the legend with 17 laps to go on turn two and never relinquished his lead despite Whincup's best efforts.
The seven-time champion conceded he was outraced by his young rival and needed to lift on Sunday.
The second race begins at 1.50pm, with qualifying from 10.40am.