Kelly Bires, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion looks forward to racing at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Both of his top-10 finishes this season have occurred at 1.5-mile tracks. KELLY BIRES - No. 47 Clorox/American Red Cross Ford...
Kelly Bires, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Ford Fusion looks forward to racing at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Both of his top-10 finishes this season have occurred at 1.5-mile tracks.
KELLY BIRES - No. 47 Clorox/American Red Cross Ford Fusion - ON TODAY'S PRACTICE SESSIONS. "We have the same car from Charlotte. We got our balance. We were really loose at the end of practice and that's what we really worked on because things can be a lot tighter tomorrow. Our race runs will probably be in the top 10s tomorrow, pretty easily. We didn't do a qualifying run, so I don't know where we ended up on the charts, probably towards the bottom. But the car is good, it's right where we had it in Charlotte, but this is a different track. It has different tire grip levels but we were pretty close when we unloaded, so that makes it a lot easier. The guys did a great job turning the car around making it as good as it was in Charlotte. I'd say we are a top-10 car but we need a long run to show it. If I wanted the speed early in the run, I'd be too tight half way through the run and we'd be junk. So we worked on being good from the center of the run to the end. If we get some long runs, we'll show, just like it has in the past couple of weeks."
DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE HERE? HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR GROOVE? "Yes, this mile and a half stuff, we could run all day. If could have another three cars that run like this back in the shop, we know what we need to do to make it better at the track. We know what is in this car, so now we can build on it. It's a good package, but we're still fine tuning things to determine exactly what each car needs at the track. This track is different. The car reacts different to every race track. You could do one change in Charlotte and do the same change here and it's just different. It's just the way the track is, where the grip is. It's just different. I got up to speed right away and took off. We're good enough to where we could make long runs in practice and I ran a lot of laps today. That helps me being on the track more and tells us that we've got a good balanced car because we can keep it running. I'm looking towards a top-10 finish, but I don't know if we'll qualify well. It's too good of a race car to take a chance and wreck it in qualifying. It's not a pole car, it's not a top-10 qualifying car but it will be a top-10 car by the end of the race."
ARE YOU QUALIFYING IN RACE TRIM? "It's set-up in race trim, so I don't think we'll be able to get it tight enough to qualify fast in race trim. We haven't figured that out yet. We've got it figured out to where we can race good. Once we figure out the total base package that we need, we can build the car that way, build the shocks that way and build the adjustable part of the car for the qualifying trim. We don't know where to have it to where we need it for qualifying but that's something we're working on. We haven't qualified that well in the past couple of races, I think in Kansas and Charlotte we qualified in the 30s, and the car was straightforward. Near the end, we were in the top 15 and that's what will probably end up doing here today."
SOME DRIVERS SAY TRACK POSITION IS IMPORTANT HERE, OTHERS SAY IT IS NOT. "I think you need a good qualifying run at every track because these cars are so aero dependent. You run so fast here that when someone is in ahead of you, you can get tight. It will just ruin the run. You can be in clean air and have a great handling race car, then get back in 20th and think the car was handling terrible and you haven't made any adjustments, it's just the air. It's important, yes, but I think a good handling race car in a long run will overcome that. Other cars may struggle in the handling and start dropping off, and then you'll be able to go places on the track where they can't. You always need to hit your mark and be consistent while others maybe tight and inconsistent. That's what we want to do, hit the mark and in the same groove lap after lap and be consistent. We worked to get it loose enough to where I can under throttle it in the turns. That's where it needs to be tomorrow for the race, after the Cup guys have practiced and the trucks get done racing, the track will get tighter. We loosened it up a ton for the day, so basically we're set-up for the day race and then we'll go into tonight and the track will have more grip. We never taped up. We didn't make a mock qualifying run. My qualifying run tonight will be in my first laps. Our goal is to run good in the race. We're not worried about qualifying right now. It's so much more important to run well in the race and have a solid car than to worry about going fast for one lap. We're not ready for that now. When we're ready for poles, then we'll work harder on the qualifying run. We want top-10 finishes and that's what we're going for today."
-credit: ford racing