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Bires Makes Best of Eighth-Place Finish at Nashville

Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires
LEBANON, Tenn. – Kelly Bires couldn’t wait to get his No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion back to the shop after Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 300. Although he started 20th and finished eighth in the Nationwide Series race, he said the car was capable of more.

“We still look at it as a plus and we’ll take it, but we were a lot better in practice,” he said. “We thought we had a Top-Three car after practice. The car was completely different for the race, though. We made a lot of improvements on it, but we never really fixed it. It’s probably something small and I’m sure this team will find it. “That’s the hardest I’ve ever driven to finish eighth in my life.”

The finish, however, still helped Bires improve three spots in the standings to 13th. It also sends the Clorox team into next Saturday’s race at the Kentucky Speedway with consecutive Top-13 finishes.

“It was good to get our points back, especially after the run of bad luck we had there for a month,” Bires said. “We’ve had two solid finishes in a row, but there’s room to get better. We still can’t quite get the finishes we deserve. The cars are good performance-wise, but we have a lot of bad luck. The good thing is, our bad luck is still leaving us in the Top-10. That’s a lot better than having bad luck and not finishing.”

The Clorox Ford was fast during Friday’s practice session. But the conditions changed during the night, making the entrances into the first and third turns more treacherous than expected. The team spent the first half of the race making adjustments; Bires spent the second half carving through traffic.

“The thing about these Nationwide races are is if one piece of the puzzle is off, your whole package is off,” Bires said. “There are so many ingredients to being successful. We were really close. We were Top-10 close. Another piece of the puzzle and we could have been Top-Five close.

“The good thing is we can take this car home, clean it off, work on it a little more and get it ready for next week. We’ll take at Top-10. We had high hopes to do better, but we’ll figure it out and be even better next week.”

- Bires is 13th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings with two Top-10 finishes in 15 starts for JTG Racing.
- Brad Keselowski won the Federated Auto Parts 300. David Stremme was second, followed by David Reutimann in third, Clint Bowyer in fourth and David Ragan in fifth.
- JTG Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose was 19th in the No. 59 Kingsford with Hickory Ford.
- The Meijer 300 is next Saturday night at 8:30 at the Kentucky Speedway.

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