Chicagoland: Kelly Bires race report

BIRES ALL RIGHT AT CHICAGOLAND IN THE LONG RUN JOLIET, Ill. -- The final 108 laps of last Friday night's Dollar General 300 were under the green flag at the Chicagoland Speedway, and that's exactly what Kelly Bires and the No. 47 Clorox Ford ...

BIRES ALL RIGHT AT CHICAGOLAND IN THE LONG RUN

JOLIET, Ill. -- The final 108 laps of last Friday night's Dollar General 300 were under the green flag at the Chicagoland Speedway, and that's exactly what Kelly Bires and the No. 47 Clorox Ford needed most.

The long runs were beneficial for JTG Racing. Bires started 22nd and finished 12th. "We really had a great Clorox Ford Fusion on a long run," Bires said. "We just couldn't figure what it needed to get it to take off, and we were so good on the end of a run, you really hated to do too much to it. The second-to-last run, I think we were probably one of the best cars on the track, and we pitted under green and the car just never came to me. We tried going down on the track bar to tighten it up on entry for the first couple of laps, and it just made it looser into the corner and tighter off. So, everyone did a good job.

"I mean, we'll take a 12th-place run. I believe we're a better car than that, but just the way things worked out tonight, everyone did a good job in the pits and on the team here working all weekend."

The race started during the heat of the late afternoon and ended under the lights. The track, however, didn't change as much as the other speedways on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. "Most tracks get real tight at night," said crew chief Scott Zipadelli. "We knew Chicagoland would have more grip at night, but the change wasn't nearly as dramatic as everywhere else. We adjusted quickly to the conditions and we made the car better. We were marching forward at the end. A few more laps, we would have been in the Top 10."

Bires said his car lost grip early in the run, but came around during the second half. "It didn't come to me until about lap 20 or so, it was that free," he said. "If we would've had a little better car on the shorter run and maybe gave up a little bit on the end of the run we might've been good. Overall, we had a really good car. And, that's what we came here to do is have a good, strong Top-15 run, and we're going to keep digging here and go on to Gateway next weekend.

"The track was awesome. I raced here last year during the day, and it was a struggle here. There was just no grip and wasn't fun, and tonight we had pretty good grip, and it's a beautiful track and a beautiful area, and the lights really were fun to race under."

Bires is 14th in the Nationwide standings, 11 points behind JTG Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose and 112 points from the Top 10. "Our goal all along is to be in the Top 10," Bires said. "We're moving in that direction. We're getting better each week. The communication between me and Scott is getting better, and with that the car is getting better."

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Kelly Bires