Nashville II: Kelly Bires race report

BIRES, CLOROX TEAM 13th-PLACE FINISH AT DOVER DOVER, Del. -- On a typical day, Kelly Bires wouldn't be pleased with a 13th-place finish. But Saturday's Heluva Good! 200 at the Dover International Speedway wasn't a typical day. The ...

BIRES, CLOROX TEAM 13th-PLACE FINISH AT DOVER

DOVER, Del. -- On a typical day, Kelly Bires wouldn't be pleased with a 13th-place finish. But Saturday's Heluva Good! 200 at the Dover International Speedway wasn't a typical day. The NASCAR Nationwide Series race was delay for three hours by two massive thunderstorms, dramatically changing the conditions from warm and dry to cool and damp. Nonetheless, the Clorox team persevered by running in the Top-10 most of the race and finishing with a lead-lap effort.

More important, it got the team back on track. A month of bad racing luck seemed to evaporate at the one-mile concrete racetrack known as the "Monster Mile." The JTG Racing team worked through the challenges and head to next Saturday night's race at the Nashville Superspeedway with momentum.

"We had a good car," Bires said. "We started off and were too tight. We made an adjustment. It seemed like the track went through a bit of change there from the start of the race. It got tight, then it got tighter and I think it freed up at the end because we were running eighth or ninth and it all of a sudden got loose.

Crew chief Scott Zipadelli said it appeared the car had a tire going down in the closing laps. To finish 13th without blowing the tire or making an unscheduled pit stop was welcomed, and important, change.

"With our run of luck lately, coming out of here with a lead-lap finish and the car in one piece was a good effort for everyone on this Clorox team," Zipadelli said. "Sometimes to be successful you don't always need to hit a home run. This was a day where we needed some solid singles, and we got it. We faced a lot of obstacles with the weather, the lack of rubber on the racetrack and the changing conditions, but we worked through it.

"I thought Kelly had a really good day. His learning curve has been unbelievable."

Bires said the team's strategy was to break the recent run of bad luck with a solid, conservative finish. They accomplished that -- and more.

-credit: jtg

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kelly Bires