Kelly Bires Richmond test wrap-up

BIRES ENDS RICHMOND TEST SECOND FASTEST Kelly Bires continues to show strong form in the ...


Kelly Bires continues to show strong form in the #47 Clorox Ford Fusion, finishing the NASCAR Nationwide Series test at Richmond International Raceway with the second fastest time in Virginia today.

Bires was second fastest in the final session of the two-day test behind fellow young gun Brad Keselowski, just a few days after Bires posted a fifth place finish in the Pepsi 300 at Nashville.

Bires, who sits eighth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings, is working hard with his JTG Racing team at improving the short track package of the Harrisburg, NC operation.

With today's impressive times at the 0.75-mile speedway, it shows that the 23-year-old and crew chief Scott Zipadelli are continuing to improve the pace of the #47 Clorox Ford Fusion.

Bires and the JTG Racing team will enjoy a rare weekend off this weekend, before the NASCAR Nationwide Series gets back underway on April 5 with the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series will race at Richmond International Raceway on May 2 in the 11th race of the season.

Kelly Bires - #47 Clorox Ford Fusion

"It's been a really good start to the season," said Bires.

"Being a full-time Nationwide only team, it's tough to compete with these Cup affiliated teams week in, week out.

"We've had a great start to the 2008 season. The consistency has been there, which is really what you need. It's a long season, so if you're consistent the top fives and the top 10s, and eventually the wins, are going to come with that.

"We are here trying to gain as much information as we can for our short track program, learn as much as we can about this new tire. We've run it at a few other race tracks throughout the year so we're just trying to get some data and trying to make some smart decisions to really get our short track program kicked off in the right direction.

"The cars are very tight on these tires, so it's hard to get the car down to rotate in the center of the corner. Initially you fight it so then you go through a bunch of stuff that's going to make it work.

"We've made some huge improvements over the two days here and in the end it was working very well.

"Our weakest program at the moment at JTG Racing is the short track program so that's what we are trying to improve on the most.

"Our strongest point would probably be our mile and a half program. That's where we've had success so far this year so we are looking forward to races like Texas and some other similar races after that.

"Richmond is a short track, so it is what I am used to running. Back in the mid-west I grew up running short tracks like this.

"I've watched a lot of races at Richmond while I was growing up racing Late Models, and it's a cool place and a one-of-a-kind type track. With the fan support, the crowds they get and just the whole Richmond theme is pretty cool.

"I ran one race here last year and we struggled, so one of our big priorities this year is to improve on the short track program and that really all starts with this test at Richmond."

-credit: jtgr

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Drivers Brad Keselowski , Kelly Bires