Daytona II: Kelly Bires race report

DAYTONA FINISH LEADS TO MIXED EMOTIONS FOR BIRES, CLOROX TEAM DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kelly Bires is never completely satisfied unless he drives the No. 47 Clorox Ford to Victory Lane. But Friday night's 16th-place finish at the Winn-Dixie 250...

DAYTONA FINISH LEADS TO MIXED EMOTIONS FOR BIRES, CLOROX TEAM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kelly Bires is never completely satisfied unless he drives the No. 47 Clorox Ford to Victory Lane. But Friday night's 16th-place finish at the Winn-Dixie 250 at the Daytona International Speedway left him with mixed emotions.

On one hand, the JTG Racing-prepared Ford Fusion was fast. On the other, he got shuffled out of a Top-10 finish during the green-white-checkered finish.

"We had a better can that what we finished," Bires said. "That last restart with Carl Edwards, I don't know what happened or where he came from. He really broke our momentum. We were on our way to a solid Top-10 finish, if not a Top-Five finish but it got crazy there at the end. We just lost our track position there."

Bires qualified 24th and planned to ride near the back of the pack during the first 150 miles. By doing that, he wanted to keep the Clorox Ford away from the three-wide, 10-deep packs of traffic that often lead to big multi-car accidents.

With 100 miles to go, Bires had no trouble working his way back into contention. b^0x001cWe got up into the Top-Five there, so the car was plenty fast enough," said crew chief Scott Zipadelli. "At the end of the race, guys start taking a lot of chances. That's why we needed the green-white-checkered. Everyone gets shuffled around. Sometimes you wind up moving forward; sometimes you move back. You're like a ping pong ball.

"The most important thing for this Clorox team was to finish. We did that. We brought a good car, we made it better on each pit stop and we left with some ideas how to make it better. In all, it was a successful trip."

Rain washed out the final practice session last Thursday, forcing the JTG Racing team to create a race setup based on experience -- and a gut feeling. "It would start loose, then it was go good and then it would end up tight," Bires said. "We wanted to set it up loose so it would turn. I feel like I turned it right half the night to gather it up. It was like short-tracking. It was the only way to make our car fast."

Bires remained 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings heading into next Friday night's Dollar General 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway, 31 points behind JTG Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose. More important he's now only 129 points from a spot in the Top 10.

"We've had five Top-20 finishes in our last six races," Bires said. "We're bringing better cars to the racetrack every week. I think we're ready to take that next step where we have consistent Top-10 finishes."

-credit: jtgr

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