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This Week in Ford Racing: Kelly Bires

Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires
June 30, 2008 - Kelly Bires, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford, finished 12th in the season-opening NASCAR Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway. With the series heading back there this week, Bires spoke about restrictor-plate racing and how he’s still in the learning process when it comes to drafting.

KELLY BIRES – No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACING? “It’s still very new to me, but I enjoy doing it – probably because I haven’t done it enough. We’ve run real well. We ran good at Daytona on the Fourth of July weekend last year and we ran real good at Talladega until we were involved in that incident with everyone else, but I learned a lot running Daytona the last two times. We’re running the same car we actually ran in February. It’s car 20 and we went through and actually did a bunch of work on it, knowing the track has different handling characteristics from February to July. We made our February car a fast car and this time we’re setting it up to handle, so we’re going there with the same philosophy of being in position to finish well. We’ve got to worry about that before trying to win on the first or fifth lap. At all of these restrictor-plate races you can get involved in something not of your doing just by being in the wrong spot, so we’re gonna race smart. When it gets down to about 20 to go, then we’re gonna go hard.”

HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED CHESS? THEY ALWAYS SAY DRAFTING IS KIND OF LIKE TRYING TO PLAN YOUR MOVES IN ADVANCE. “I’ve never played chess, so I couldn’t tell you about that. I don’t think I’m smart enough to do that, but Daytona is about being in the right line. It’s about being patient. Sometimes you’re in one line and you feel like everyone is going by you, but the next time you come around and your line is moving, so sometimes you get a huge run and you want to pull out and pass someone, but sometimes you’ve just got to stay there and you’d be better off. It is a lot of making decisions and you don’t get very much space and time to make those decisions, so you rely on a good spotter helping you out and a lot of it is instincts. There’s so much patience involved. You’re telling yourself, ‘No, no, no,’ more than anything. You want to do it. You’ve got a run and it’s like, ‘I can easily pass these guys,’ and the next thing you know you’re 15 spots back when you get through the end of the corner. Restrictor-plate racing is definitely a trade. Some people are better at it than others, but I think we’re pretty good and I think we’re taking a great Clorox Ford Fusion there, too.”

GUYS HAVE DESCRIBED IT LIKE BEING ON AN EXPRESSWAY. IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT FROM WHAT YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT. “It’s very true. Daytona anymore is becoming a handling race track. Talladega has got so much grip being so new that it’s just wide open and you can have fun going five-wide. At Daytona you’re holding on to go that fast. You struggle with getting the car to turn in the center of the corner off. That’s what we noticed last year in July and you’ve got a tendency to be looser in, so the two worst things you don’t want is being loose in and being tight off and that’s what the track goes to in July versus February. It just magnifies it, so we’ve worked on the car and changed the aerodynamics of it and some chassis stuff, so when we go back there we’re in better shape than we were last July. Having another year in the car has helped me in that aspect.”

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