MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Kelly Bires leaves number-crunching for the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings to other people. His only concern is making the most of the final four races. This weekend Kelly's No. 47 Ford will feature a new primary sponsor,...
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Kelly Bires leaves number-crunching for the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings to other people. His only concern is making the most of the final four races. This weekend Kelly's No. 47 Ford will feature a new primary sponsor, STP's "Barely Street Legal" Octane Booster.
Bires is 13th in the rankings heading into Saturday's Kroger 250 at the Memphis Motorsports Park. His JTG Daugherty Racing team is focused solely on improving that before the checkered flag waves on the 2008 season.
"Mathematically we can still get in the Top 10," said crew chief Scott Zipadelli. "We want to get some more points, some more Top-10 runs. Right now, the only thing we're working on is finishing this season strong. I want to look forward to 2009, but there's too much work remaining this year to get ahead of ourselves."
Bires spent the off week back home in Wisconsin. He's looking forward to closing out the year with four consecutive racing weekends. "As a race car driver, you want to race once a week, even two times a week," he said. "That's what you grew up on the short tracks doing. I know there's a lot of focus on the points with this STP Octane Booster/AutoZone team, but I leave that to other people. I feel like we go to the racetrack every week with a Top-10 car. It's my job to get the most of that. If I do my job, the points will work out." He's 143 points from 12th place and 155 from 11th. It's not an impossible task, especially since it's possible to gain as many as 161 points in a single race.
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the track," Bires said. "When you're at home for a couple off days, you get a little stir crazy. We didn't run as well at Memphis (14th-place finish) as we wanted last year, but we have a much stronger short track program now. It's going to be a lot of fun to compare last year's race with this one.
"We're finishing on four racetracks that I really like. We have a good opportunity to get a lot of points. We're 13th right now, so the immediate goal is to get to 12th. When we get there, the next goal will be 11th. We are also looking forward to keeping a strong run going for STP. The last time they sponsored a JTG Daugherty team they visited Victory Lane with my teammate in Watkins Glen. I am looking to keep that streak alive".
Zipadelli also believes a strong finish will go a long way toward getting a jump on next year. "We'll start working on our 2009 stuff pretty soon," he said. "One of the best ways to get started on that is with momentum we create this year. Let's get the last four races out of the way and get as close to the Top 10 as possible. Then we can start thinking about next year."