THIRD TIME NOT A CHARM FOR BIRES, CLOROX ANYWHERE TEAM
MADISON, Ill. -- The first two times Kelly Bires drove the No. 47 Clorox Anywhere/U.S. Air Force Ford past Brad Teague during last Saturday's race at Gateway International Raceway, the lapped car gave Bires plenty of room.
The third time was different.
Bires was moving into the Top 15 during the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 when he was bumped by Teague in the first turn. The result was a damaged Ford Fusion -- and a 32nd-place finish. "We got tangled up getting down into Turn 1," Bires said. "It was the third time we lapped this car and he gave me plenty of room the first two times. The third time he decided to race me where I thought he was giving me room. It's very disappointing, but I have a very strong JTG Racing team and we'll rebound at (O'Reilly Raceway Park)."
Bires drew an early qualifying spot when the 1.25-mile oval was hot and slippery. That led to a 30th-place spot in the starting lineup, but the Clorox team quickly worked to the front once the main event started. "Sometimes you're only as good as the luck of the draw," crew chief Scott Zipadelli said. "We weren't happy with our qualifying effort, but most of that was the result of going out early. The car was coming to life in the race when we got caught up in that crash. You hate for things like that to happen. There's so much work that goes into making one of these cars. When you tear one up, it takes a couple weeks to get it turned back around
"It's one of the challenges every team in this sport faces every week."
Despite the crash, Bires remained 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide standings heading into the Kroger 200 at ORP. "We concentrated on our balance during practice and the car was perfect," Bires said. "It was a little loose in the race, but we were still fast enough to get to the Top 10. The car really came to me during the long runs. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to stay out there long enough."