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Bires Makes Clorox Team’s Day with 12th Place Daytona Finish

Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires drove the No. 47 Clorox Ford to a 12th place finish in the season-opening Camping World 300 event at Daytona International Speedway. The finish capped off a day in which Bires’ car continued to get better as the event unfolded.

After putting the race car 31st on the grid for the start, Bires used the first phase of the race to feel out the car and make sure that it felt similar to the two-day testing session results at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In some of the early going, Kelly hooked up in the draft with teammate Marcos Ambrose, in the No. 59 Kingsford Ford. Single file racing seemed to be the order of the day for the first third of the 120-lap event, which is quite unusual for the aerodynamic package on the NASCAR Nationwide Series cars. In addition, the temperatures climb into the low 80’s for the event—the hottest it had been all week long in Central Florida. All of these factors led most of the drivers to run a cautious race from the outset—but most knew it wouldn’t last.

The first round of pit stops on the day occurred around lap 40 and Crew Chief Scott Zipadelli brought the No. 47 Clorox Ford down pit road for service. Bires returned to action in the 24th spot on the lap 47 restart. The first caution of the day flew for a two-car incident on lap 55, involving Mark Green and David Gilliland. Bires’ used the yellow for a second visit to pit road for adjustments. The over-the-wall crew performed an amazing four-tire stop and Kelly inherited 17th place on the lap 59 restart.

Bires worked the draft well on the high banks at Daytona, trying both the outside line and the inside line. The No. 47 Clorox Ford seemed to prefer the high line—and it would come into play in the final laps. Halfway through the fuel run, teammate Marcos Ambrose brought out the second caution flag of the day on lap 80, as his right rear tire shredded.

What the first two thirds of the Camping World 300 lacked in excitement were more than made up for as the laps clicked down to the finish. Bires pitted for the final time on lap 98 of the 120-lap event—for four tires and fuel and restarted the race from the 22nd spot. Over the next 10 laps, all bets were off as cars jockeyed for position in two lines of drafting. With just 10 laps to go, the inevitable did happen as Brad Keselowski, driving the No. 88 car, touched off the most major accident of the day as he swept up six cars in his wake with a small tap to the rear of Stephen Wallace’s No. 66 car. Bires just happened to have the No. 47 Clorox Ford in the high line and was able to scoot through unscathed.

A four-lap caution period ensued with almost the entire field refusing to come down to pit road one last time. NASCAR Nationwide officials restarted the race with just six laps to go. With five laps to go, Kelly Bires had worked his way up to 16th place, still driving the high line. As all eyes focused on the lead four cars swapping the lead, Kelly Bires masterfully worked his way past several other competitors to finish in 12th place at the checkered flag—and an intact race car.

WHAT THE TEAM HAS TO SAY:
Kelly Bires, Driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford:
"The car didn't draft as good as we wanted to but the guys did a good job on pit road. We stayed clean all day and we found the right line at the end of the race. I wish we had a few more laps and I think we would have had a better finish. We came here to get top-15 finish and that's the way we wanted it to go heading into California. I'm just proud of everyone that worked on my Clorox Fusion here at the race track and back home in the shop."

Scott Zipadelli, Crew Chief of the No. 47 Clorox Ford:
“Kelly just did an awesome job today—I couldn’t be prouder of him. He was patient when he needed to be and when it was time to go, you saw what he is capable of. He’s a smart racer, very smart and he kept his head on straight all day long. I think there were a lot of factors out there today that nobody planned on—the temperature was hotter, the track was much different than what we practiced on, but we were able to adjust on this car. We got it where Kelly wanted it and he took it from there. A 12th place finish is a great way to start off the year.”

FAST & FUN FACTS:
-Kelly Bires drove the No. 47 Clorox Ford to a 12th place finish in the Camping World 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
-Tony Stewart won the Camping World 300, followed by Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five finishers on the day.

NEXT EVENT NEWS:
WHERE: California Speedway, Ontario, CA
WHAT: Stater Bros. 300
WHEN: February 23rd, 2008; 2 p.m. EST
NETWORK: ESPN 2 Network; MRN Radio Network

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