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Kelly Bires California Run Ruined

Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires
By all accounts, Kelly Bires No. 47 Clorox Ford was fast during todayís postponed Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway. Unfortunately, the team didnít get a chance to find out what kind of a result they might have turned in. Bires day was cut short on a lap-54 restart when the No. 66 car of Stephen Wallace bulled his way to the inside of the No. 47 car. The contact, coming in the center of the turn one corner, sent Bires spinning up into the outside wall where he sustained heavy damage to the left rear and bumper of the No. 47 Clorox Ford. The damage wasnít terminal, but the team lost several laps in the pits while repairing the car in order to rejoin the race.

With the California weather as uncooperative as can be, the Stater Bros. 300 was twice postponed for heavy rains. The 42 NASCAR Nationwide Series teams finally got the green flag at 4:20 p.m. EST on Monday afternoon. Kelly Bires rolled off the grid in the 24th starting spot after Saturdayís qualifying session. The car was making steady and solid progress on extended green flag runs. The first caution flag of the day flew on lap 23 of the 150-lap event, for a single car incident involving Elliott Sadler. Bires and the rest of the field used the opportunity to come down pit road for their first servicing of the day.

Crew chief Scott Zipadelli called for a four-tire change, fuel and a slight chassis adjustment. The over-the-wall crew knocked out a terrific stop and the team was able to gain two spots leaving the pits. Bires restarted the race in 17th on lap 32.

Bires fell back to 18th, but had settled in quite nicelyómaking consistent laps in the No. 47 Clorox Ford. Lap 50 saw the second caution flag of the day for an incident with the car of Jeff Burton. Bires came down for service for the second timeóagain opting for a slight chassis adjustment.

After trouble on pit road for loose lug nuts, Bires had to re-pit the car and restarted toward the back of the field. The No. 66 car of Stephen Wallace, at the tail end of the longest line after serving a pass-through speeding penalty, drove right into the back of the No. 47 Clorox Ford on the restart of lap 54--effectively ending a chance for a great finish for Kelly Bires and the crew.

True to form, however, the No. 47 Clorox team refused to call it a day, made the necessary repairs and returned to the track to capture as many points as possible under the circumstances. At the close of the event, Bires crossed the line in 30th place, 10 laps off the pace.

Kelly Bires, Driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford:
"This is pretty disappointing. We easily had a top-10 caróeasily. We had a little bit of trouble on pit road today and that put us in the back of the field on the restart. Iím not happy with the 66 [Stephen Wallace]ówe both had good cars and he could have been a little more patient. Itís way too early in the year to be driving like that.

Though Iím not happy with how we finished, Iím still pretty encouraged by how good this car was going to be. It had great balance and it was fast from the start. And weíve got others just like it in the shop. Weíll need to have a great run at Vegas to make up for today."

Scott Zipadelli, Crew Chief of the No. 47 Clorox Ford:
ďIím very disappointed with what happened today. It was shaping up to be a pretty decent run, I think. Hopefully, itíll be our last run in of the year with the 66 car. My hatís off to the crew for making the repairs and getting us back out there. Itís just a shame that we had to wait around all weekend long and have this happen.

Obviously we didnít get the result we deserved, but weíll go back and get our Vegas car ready to go. We tested really well there and now weíll be double as determined to do well.Ē

-Kelly Bires drove the No. 47 Clorox Ford to a 30th place finish in the Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway.
-Contact with the No. 66 car of Stephen Wallace on lap 54 cost the No. 47 Clorox Ford a promising finish.
-Tony Stewart won the Stater Bros. 300, followed by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, David Reutimann and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five finishers on the day.

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