BIRES, JTG DAUGHERTY RACING READY FOR DEFINING STRETCH DRIVE DOVER, Del. -- For Kelly Bires and JTG Daugherty Racing, the NASCAR Nationwide Series season is down to the defining stretch of races -- the final seven. Starting with Saturday's ...
BIRES, JTG DAUGHERTY RACING READY FOR DEFINING STRETCH DRIVE
DOVER, Del. -- For Kelly Bires and JTG Daugherty Racing, the NASCAR Nationwide Series season is down to the defining stretch of races -- the final seven. Starting with Saturday's Camping World RV 200 at the Dover International Speedway, Bires believes the final seven races not only will characterize what the team has accomplished this season, it will send them into the offseason with momentum for next year.
The team used the last week's bye to catch its breath -- and get ready for the stretch drive.
"In racing, they say you're only as good as your last race," Bires said. "For this race team and our No. 47 Ford Fusion, we want our last race to be a compilation of good finishes. We don't want our work and our sacrifices to be defined by a single race, so we've dedicated ourselves to a greater body of work. Not only would strong finishes in the final seven races validate everything we've accomplished this year, it will give us a running start for the 2009 season."
Bires is 14th in the Nationwide Series standings, 38 points from 13th. "Our immediate goal is 13th in the standings," said crew chief Scott Zipadelli. "To get there, we have to be a solid Top-10 team. After that, we'll concentrate on 12th-place. If we run in the Top 10 like we think, the standings will take care of itself."
Bires has a lot of success at Dover's one-mile, high-banked concrete oval. He's got two Top-20 finishes in two career starts and an eighth-place effort in pole qualifying last May.
"JTG Daugherty Racing has always had great setups for the concrete tracks," Bires said. "We're going to spend a portion of our practice on Friday on qualifying so we can start the race with track position. The best way to pass cars on a one-mile track is to do it before the race starts during qualifying."
Bires said the key to Dover is avoid the traffic jams that come in Turns 2 and 4 when somebody else has problem, as well as getting the car to accelerate through the middle of the banking. The second and fourth turns are treacherous because there's very little racing room. Bires said his team's focus will be refining a setup that allows him to be in the gas at both ends of the racetrack so he can stay ahead of possible trouble.
The No. 47 team comes into Saturday's main event with five consecutive Top-20 finishes. To wrap up the 2008 campaign with the kind of momentum that can carry into next year, Bires said he believes Top 10 finishes down the stretch are possible.
"We've operated as a Top-10 team in the last few months," he said. "If we keep taking care of the things that we can control, we should be in good shape. We should have a really good body of work to look back on at the end of the year."