Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly have finished third in an action-packed and rain shortened ninth round of the V8 Supercar Series, the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne today, with teammates Cameron McLean and Andy Priaulx finishing a solid 12th for the Kmart Racing team.

With the weather varying from sunshine to rain to hail and even ice during the race, pre-race strategies were thrown out the window, Kelly stretching his first driving stint from the intended 55 laps to 67 in the lead Kmart Commodore, while Priaulx double-stinted in the second car, jumping into the #15 car on lap 68 and remaining there until race's end - the teams swapping from slicks to wets, wets to slicks and back again depending on the immediate conditions.

The lead Kmart Racing Commodore was amongst the front-runners all weekend, with Murphy's fine third-placed qualifying effort setting the team up for a race strong performance, while Kelly's opening drive had them within striking distance of the lead.

Murphy entered the race and continued on from where his team-mate left off, entering the pits for their third and final pit stop on lap 109 in the lead.

Their chances were then dealt a severe blow when the Kmart car was blocked upon entering the pit bay by one of the Garry Rogers Motorsport cars exiting from an adjoining bay.

As a result, following a delay Murphy subsequently entered the bay crooked and, in the jostling to straighten the car, a crewmember pulled on the rear wing, dislodging it - a 'fatal' blow delivered in the time required to fix it.

"The fuel hose couldn't reach the car so we had to reverse and reposition the car. I looked in my mirror and saw someone lifting the rear wing off my car, which was a big surprise to me," he said. "We spent the next nearly two minutes fixing that."

The delay cost the team a lap-and-a-half and dropped Murphy to ninth, only an inspired drive by the two-time Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 winner moving them back onto the podium.

"We can be pleased with the result and the pace of the new VY Commodore and the progress we've made since Oran Park, although I can't help but think it's a race that got away from us," Murphy said. "It was pleasing to finish on the podium, though, and it gives us great confidence for Bathurst."

For Kelly, the third place finish was the highest in his short and impressive V8 Supercar career, the 20-year-old also creating history when he joined his brother, former Kmart Racing driver Todd, on the podium - Todd joining with Mark Skaife to win the race for the Holden Racing Team.

"It looked like being a good day, then it turned disastrous, so I'm fairly happy to come away with a third place finish," Kelly said. "I was pleased with my stint behind the wheel, I didn't lose anything to anyone, and Murph drove a great race. Our third stop was disappointing - I don't know what the GRM team were thinking - but it just shows the fighting qualities of this Kmart team."

Despite not having driven since the conclusion to last year's V8 series, McLean qualified the car in 15th position, in front of a number of regular series drivers, and was running as high as ninth when he handed the car over to Priaulx.

"This series is so competitive that to come in and run like we have after me being out of the seat since last year, you couldn't help but be anything but pleased," McLean said. "The Kmart Commodore is certainly the best car I've ever driven and the team did a tremendous job. I can't wait for Bathurst."

Priaulx, who had less than half-an-hour in the car prior the beginning of the race, drove a sensible race in some of the most difficult and contrasting conditions ever seen to eventually bring the car home.

"That was one of the most difficult races I've ever driven in," a relieved Priaulx said at the end of the race. "I had the driver's window down just a little and, at one stage, the hail was belting me in the face so bad I had to put my helmet visor down. Driving with Cameron was a great experience, though, and it was great to be back with Kmart Racing. We're really looking forward to Bathurst now."

With four races remaining in the championship, today's results moves Murphy to second place in the driver standings, 106 points behind series leader Marcos Ambrose. Kelly also improved his championship position, moving two places up the ladder to eighth.

The next round of the V8 Supercar Series is the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst on October 9-12. The team plan to test on September 30 in the lead up to the race, the obvious benefits of the team's first test day since the season began a fortnight ago evident in the Sandown performances.