Indy ORP: Kelly Bires preview

CLERMONT, Ind. -- When it comes to short-track racing, there's no fine line between being rough and too rough, Kelly Bires said. As a former two-time state high school wrestling champion, the driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford knows all 43 drivers...

CLERMONT, Ind. -- When it comes to short-track racing, there's no fine line between being rough and too rough, Kelly Bires said. As a former two-time state high school wrestling champion, the driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford knows all 43 drivers will be muscling for spot up front at the .686-mile O'Reilly Raceway Park during Saturday night's Kroger 200. Nobody can afford to drop their guard for a single minute without getting body-slammed.

"I don't think you can be too aggressive at short tracks," Bires said. "You have to get every possible position you can using every bit of the track to your advantage. You can go out there and wreck everybody trying to pass, but the level of patience is very, very small on these small tracks. "If you're pushing people around, somebody else will be pushing you around. That's the nature of short-track racing."

Bires comes into Saturday night's race ranked 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. He's is making a second-half push to finish in the Top 10. To get there, he knows he must be successful on short tracks. "I grew up on short tracks, so my comfort level is at its highest here," he said. "A little beating and banging is all right. Everyone expects that."

So does crew chief Scott Zipadelli.

"You know when you leave here Saturday night, you'll have to take this car home and repair one, if not all, the fenders," he said. "You can't be bashful here. It's going to need a lot more than a car wash when we get home. That's part of the game."

Bires started fourth at ORP last year, but engine failure relegated him to a 38th-place finish. "We had a great car there last year," he said. "It was extremely disappointing, but this team has been good enough to bounce back from every challenge. I'm really anxious to get back there. We have a lot of unfinished business there.

"We've come a lot way with our cars this year. We changed everything from last year and we're usually really good right off the truck. I know that will happen this week, too."

And if all goes well, the car won't look as good for the ride home. After all, there's no fine line between rough and too rough at a short track.

- credit: jtg

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kelly Bires