Todd Kelly eyes emotional Supercars finish

When retiring Supercars veteran Todd Kelly gets out of his Nissan Altima for the final time, he expects emotion to get the better of him.

But until Sunday's swan song, the 38-year-old is relishing his role as a potential bolter at the inaugural Newcastle 500 where he will wrap up his final season as a full-time driver.

Kelly began the weekend with a surprise after posting the third-fastest practice lap, only bettered by championship contenders Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup.

"I honestly didn't expect to be here," Kelly said.

The narrow, tight-turning street circuit has exceeded Kelly's expectations, so much so that he has joked about shelving his retirement plans, which have been prompted by ongoing knee issues.

"I couldn't think of a better way to finish off, to be honest," Kelly said.

"To be driving around such an amazing circuit for the last race, it couldn't be more perfect."

His brother and fellow Nissan Motorsport co-owner Rick has added a touch of sentimentality to his farewell.

"Rick had a helmet painted for me which is the exact same design I had when I was 18," Todd Kelly said.

"That reminded me pretty quickly about all the years that have gone by."

The spotlight this weekend will rightly be shone on a newly crowned champion.

But meanwhile, the curtain will be drawn on a two-decade career which has boasted 19 race wins and victory in the 2005 Bathurst 1000 alongside Mark Skaife.

"It's been a bit of a ride," Kelly said.

"When I pull up - hopefully at the end of the race, if we get there - and when I jump out of the car for the very last time, I reckon I'll probably struggle with that a bit.

"It won't be easy, that's for sure."