Kentucky: Kelly Bires preview

BIRES, CLOROX TEAM TO LOOK FOR FINAL PIECE OF PUZZLE AT KENTUCKY SPARTA, Ken. -- There are more than 1,000 parts and pieces that make up Kelly Bires' No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion and any one of them is capable of hurting the team's chance of...

BIRES, CLOROX TEAM TO LOOK FOR FINAL PIECE OF PUZZLE AT KENTUCKY

SPARTA, Ken. -- There are more than 1,000 parts and pieces that make up Kelly Bires' No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion and any one of them is capable of hurting the team's chance of winning this Saturday night's Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway.

That's why the JTG Racing team treats each NASCAR Nationwide Series race as a giant jigsaw puzzle. Put all the pieces together in the right order and a Top-10 finish, if not better, is likely. Miss one piece ...

"The hardest thing is to have all the pieces, and we have that here with our Clorox Ford," Bires said. "Every week we're getting closer and closer to getting everything in order. The thing about this sport is if you're missing one piece, you can't win. One little piece throws your whole package off."

Bires is coming off an eighth-place finish last Saturday at Nashville, and he hopes to take that momentum to the next level at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway. A year ago he qualified 26th and finished seventh there in just his second career Nationwide Series start.

"Our mile and-a-half program has been real solid," said crew chief Scott Zipadelli. "Kelly is really comfortable on those tracks and we've found a package that really suits him. We usually know when we unload at the track we're going to be close. Usually all we have to do in practice is fine-tune the setup and get everything in race mode."

Bires has consecutive Top-13 finishes to propel him to 13th in the standings. More important, he's only 139 points from the Top 10.

"We're in a stretch where six of nine races aren't run as a companion race with the Sprint Cup Series, so you don't have a lot of Cup guys in the field," Bires said. "A lot of people think this is the best time for a true Nationwide team to make up a lot of ground in the standings. I don't look at it that way. I think if you have a fast car, you're going to be good no matter who you're racing against. If we're on the money, we're going to be all right. What people don't realize is if the Cup guys aren't at Kentucky, their cars are still there and they're being driven by great drivers. That's why I don't make too much of all that."

Zipadelli agreed.

"No matter who's in the race, you have to make your car good," he said. "We can only control what we do. We're comfortable with that. It takes so many things to make up a good run -- the car has to be fast, the engine has to last, the pit crew has to hit their marks, we can't make any mistakes with our strategy -- and all of those things have to be perfect.

"Once you get all that into place, you also need a little racing luck."

FAST & FUN FACTS:

- Bires is 13th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings with two Top-10 finishes in 15 starts for JTG Racing.

- Bires has one career start at Kentucky. He started 26th and finished seventh last year.

- Bires is a two-time Wisconsin state high school wrestling champion.

- Pole qualifying for the Meijer 300 is at 5:10 p.m. ET Saturday.

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kelly Bires