Rick Kelly is a rare and raw talent. The toughest part for young elite athletes is maintaining their composure, keeping perspective and digesting as much as they can, as quickly as they can.

While it's reasonable to suggest some pieces have fallen into place nicely in the fledgling career of Kelly, he has an ability recognised all the way down pit lane. After all you don't run third in the V8 Supercar series and win Bathurst without it.

After seven rounds Kelly is just 15 points behind series leader Jason Bright and 10 points behind second-placed Steven Richards. Both of those drivers are vastly more experienced and can relate to young Kelly's steep learning curve.

In the last round of the series at Winton, Kelly made an error of judgment when he failed to 'block' Cameron McConville from passing him on the penultimate corner. It cost him the race. Now there's one thing certain - he won't do it again and he showed soon after he wasn't too happy about it.

For a 21-year-old to be doing so well against men who have been in the business for many years, shows Kelly's ability. It's also evident in his 'elder' brother Todd who at 23 seems like a seasoned veteran of pit lane.

"To me it's not so much about age," Rick Kelly said.

"I'm just very lucky to have the chance to be in the championship and while I'm there I will do absolutely everything in my power to be successful. All of these drivers are there based on their ability, me included."

Kelly's breakthrough at Mount Panorama last year made him the youngest driver in history to win the great race at a place where the majority of drivers in the rich history of Australian motorsport have failed.

In doing so he joined the likes of Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Larry Perkins, Mark Skaife, Jim Richards and Allan Moffat.

"The grass always seems greener on the other side but you never take anything for granted," he said. "Sure I won Bathurst and that's an achievement when you think such a great driver like Glenn Seton hasn't had a victory in 19 starts. But that doesn't make a career. There's still a championship and plenty more races to win."

Kelly has a strong team behind him including veteran Greg Murphy as a team-mate.

Every sporting team has two elements - champion individuals backed by a championship back room. Take AFL's Michael Voss and Leigh Matthews, cricket's John Buchanan and Steve Waugh or rugby league's Allan Langer and Bennett.

Motor racing pretty much the same. Every champion driver has a champion team, drivers like Marcos Ambrose and his Stone Brothers Racing team or Michael Schumacher and his dominant Ferrari outfit.

This is a culture being bred at Kmart Racing, right down to lead mechanic Kevin King who is a human movement specialist who has been instrumental in the team being consistently the quickest pit stop team in the championship.

Kelly admits that having such a strong team helps in staying competitive on track.

"We are strong as a team in many areas," he said. "We are lacking some speed at the moment but have been able to at least account for that by making sure we stay competitive in the other areas while we work on that problem.

"It's such a difficult touring car championship to win but that just makes me work even harder - it drives me to want to win the championship.

"And we can do that."

Only time will tell...