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This Week in Ford Racing: Kelly Bires

Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires
 
May 28, 2008 - Kelly Bires, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion, has been beset by bad luck the last few weeks on the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has dropped to 16th in the point standings. He spoke about trying to turn things around this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

KELLY BIRES Ė No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion

THINGS HAPPEN FAST AT DOVER, DONíT THEY. ďYeah, they happen very fast. Weíve got one start under our belt, which is a tremendous help going there. Heading into Dover last year, I didnít know what to think of it and when I got there, it actually was a track that I really, really liked and enjoyed running on. We were fast. I think we were top-10 in the first practice and we had a really good race car. Thatís kind of where NASCAR got us last year, where they thought we missed the driverís meeting and they got us confused with a different number. I think we qualified 20th, but they made me start in the back. We drove up into the top 15 and were up to like 11th and then got torn up by a lapped car, but we had a solid car there. Itís a big Bristol. For some reason it just suited my driving style. Youíve just got to be really loose there to be fast and thatís the way I like a car. Iím just excited to go back there. Itís a fun track. The banking and the speed that you carry there is fun.Ē

HOW TREACHEROUS IS PIT ROAD? ďItís very tough to get onto pit road. You see that in Cup races and Nationwide races every year Ė people struggling to get on pit road. You get on that track and the banking is so great that you donít feel like youíre carrying the amount of speed that you are and then you get down on the flat and itís not concrete down there. A lot of times itís pretty hot there and itís just slippery. You watch the cars running these coil-bind setups. The only way they turn is if itís coil-bound, and when you get onto the apron and it doesnít coil-bind and doesnít turn, you put more wheel into it and the next thing you know youíve missed pit road or youíre spinning out. Itís a tough place to get around. Youíve got to run a smart race there. Track position and clean air is a lot there. Itís probably gonna be more important this time around with less motor. It seems like Dover has so much grip that you can really use the motor, but now that theyíve taken a little bit of motor away from us, I think itís gonna be like running go-karts there and clean air is gonna be worth three-tenths of a second.Ē

YOUíVE BEEN IN THIS CAR FOR ALMOST A YEAR NOW. HOW FAR HAVE YOU COME AS A DRIVER IN THAT TIME? ďA long ways. Iíve grown so much. From the first start to the 10th start of last year, to the last race of the year at Miami, to going this off season and doing some testing and then running in the top 15 at Daytona our first race, and being in the top 10 in points all the way up until we had a couple of mechanical issues and just some bad luck. Weíve had a 10th-place race car every week Ė a solid, consistent 10th-place. Sometimes itís been better and sometimes a touch worse, but weíve had fast race cars. I give a lot of credit to my team at JTG Racing. Weíve worked real hard in the off-season to build a lot of cars alike, so we could go to numerous different tracks and run competitively with any car we take. Everyone has stepped up. Scott Zipadelli, my crew chief, has given me everything I need. Iíve matured more as a race-car driver. I can tell him a little better the direction that I need to be going in and prioritize stuff a little bit better and we can get there faster. Last year we were both new. It was his first year as a crew chief and my first year of driving a Nationwide car and we didnít get much time to work together. We just got thrown together and now weíve been able to mature together and bond and know what each other is thinking. Itís showing this year definitely on the race track.Ē


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