Kelly Bires, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion, competes for the first time on the 13-turn road course in Montreal this weekend. Bires talks about first practice and learning the track.
ON FIRST PRACTICE. "We were just getting some laps. That's practically what we did in the first run. We're trying to make the car a little bit better. Right now, I feel like the car is driving me, instead of me driving the car. So, we're going to go in the direction, set-up wise, to where the 59 is set. We're quite a bit different now. We're going to go that direction to see if it helps me out. Then it's just a matter of getting more laps. We didn't come here and expect to win. We came here to get more seat time and to help me out for the future on road course. When we come back here next year, I'll be that much further ahead. We didn't really put a lot of effort into testing, so we can't expect to come here and run in the top five, but we can expect to come here, run in the top 15 and complete all the laps, keep the car in one piece, transmission and everything. That's what we're working on doing."
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO LEARN THE TRACK? "I'll be learning all through the race, honestly. I've gotten better every time I went out. I've gotten faster every time I went out. It's a tough little place. It's tough but if you're not quite handling the way you need to be, it's even tougher. I think if we dial it in a little bit better, the speed will come. Here on road courses, it seems like you can be a little bit off or you could be a couple second off on speed, but it's really not very much because if you get your car to do what you want to do in one corner, you're going to gain the speed in every one of those corners. We're just going to keep working and get me more laps, make the car a little bit better and keep learning as the race goes."
DOES IT HELP HAVING A TEAMMATE LIKE MARCOS WITH HIS ROAD RACING BACKGROUND? "Absolutely. If you can pick any teammate, you obviously want one that's experienced or is known for road racing. It helps because if I have question, I can go ask him. It helps set-up wise. We were completely different in the first practice, now we're going to what they've got. But, it may not be better or I may not like it either. Every driver is different. He may be expecting more out of the car than I am or I may be expecting the car do this and it's not going to. I just don't know yet. That's the biggest thing that's helped. He knows what to expect. You don't want to go overboard and risk wrecking the car. We just have to use the practice to help me drive the car better and not to go fast."
LAST YEAR YOU WATCHED THE RACE AND THIS YEAR, YOU GET TO RACE. IS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED? "I was miserable the three days last year watching. You couldn't see much. I had no clue what the backside of the track looked like from just being a spectator. But now, it's a very enjoyable track. It's fun to be in the city. This is a good place to come to and I look forward to coming back here next year."
-credit: ford racing