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Bires Sloshes Through Myriad of Obstacles in Montreal

Kelly Bires
Kelly Bires
MONTREAL – When Kelly Bires arrived to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, his primary goal was to finish Saturday’s NAPA 200. But once the race started, the goal became more simplistic: stay afloat.

Bires, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford, was making his second career start on a road course. When torrential rain hit the 14-turn course on the eighth lap, it turned a learning experience into a matter of survival. “It was out of control out there,” Bires said after starting 26th and finishing 24th. “It was way too out of control for what we were trying to do. We couldn’t see anything so we had to stop to see out the windshield.”

Like his JTG Daugherty Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose, Bires’ visibility on pit road was so poor he was caught speeding leaving pit road. Bires couldn’t see the orange cone at the end of pit lane where drivers are allowed to accelerate. The penalty dropped him off the lead lap, but he was on track when NASCAR called the race with 26 laps remaining.

“We had a strategy and we were going to stick to it,” said crew chief Scott Zipadelli. “When it started raining like that, just about everything went out the window. Rain is one thing; but a monsoon like that changed everyone’s strategy. Once the track got saturated, the only strategy was to stay on course and finish. Kelly did that, so it was a successful trip.”

Bires said the puddles were so deep, his car hydroplaned in one corner, sending him off the pavement. He quickly recovered, but the slip cost him seven spots in the running order.

“My second road course race, a downpour, a speeding penalty, an unscheduled stop to wipe off my windshield and I wheel-hopped off track – all that and we still finished,” Bires said. “We were up against a lot of obstacles, but we accomplished our main goal of bringing this car home in one piece. It may take a week to dry everything out, but we’ll have the car ready for next week’s race. I feel a little more comfortable on the road courses now. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain at Watkins Glen.”

Bires applauded NASCAR’s decision to stop the race on Lap 48 instead of Lap 74 as scheduled. “We were going to have a good day, I thought, but I couldn’t see,” he said. “It was a safety thing, we had to pit under green and they threw the caution a lap later and it just bit us. They did the right thing.”


  • Bires improved one spot to 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings with two Top-10 finishes in 23 starts for JTG Racing.
  • Ron Fellows and Patrick Carpentier gave Canada a one-two finish at Montreal. JTG Daugherty Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose finished third, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr. in fourth and Boris Said in fifth.
  • The next race for Bires and the Clorox Ford is the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International next Saturday.

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