BIRES' TEAM SHIFTS GEARS FOR TOP 20 FINISH MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Before each race crew chief Scott Zipadelli pears through mountains of information logged in notebooks at JTG Daugherty Racing. Every lap of practice, qualifying and racing is noted...
BIRES' TEAM SHIFTS GEARS FOR TOP 20 FINISH
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Before each race crew chief Scott Zipadelli pears through mountains of information logged in notebooks at JTG Daugherty Racing. Every lap of practice, qualifying and racing is noted with Kelly Bires' setups and the success of the No. 47 STP Octane Booster/AutoZone Ford.
What Zipadelli saw in preparation for the Memphis Motorsports Park is a tendency for a lot of caution periods and short runs. Last Saturday's Kroger 250, however, proved to be an exception.
"The last thing we expected were a lot of long green-flag runs," Bires said after finishing 18th. "Last year there were 25 cautions. This year there were eight. We came prepared for short runs, so we got behind at the beginning of the race."
Zipadelli made changes to the team's Ford Fusion at mid-race to help Bires rally to a Top-20 finish. In the process, the team maintained its 13th-place position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.
"There's no question the long green-flag runs caught everyone off guard," Zipadelli said. "By the middle of the race, there were only four cars on the lead lap. Everyone was forced to make radical changes to the car during the race. In the final 100 laps, we were as good as the leaders. We made up a lot of ground. We're looking for Top-10 finishes, but there was a small sense of satisfaction in the way we bounced back. Hopefully we won't get blindsided like that again."
Bires said the race proved to be a valuable learning experience.
"It took everyone on this JTG Daugherty Racing team to rebound," he said. "Part of the learning curve is being able to tell the team what the car's doing and what needs to be done to make it better. Scott, of course, knows how to take that information and make the necessary changes. Last Saturday's race proved how much we've matured as a race team. It will go a long way into solidifying our future."
The driver also was happy to get STP Octane Booster and AutoZone a solid Top-20 finish.
"We brought a great car to Memphis; we just got surprised by how the race developed, especially early," Bires said. "The important thing is we left with a better car. It was important to get STP Octane Booster and AutoZone a good run. We'll take our Top-20 finish and get ready for Texas."
For Zipadelli, that means a new notebook and another mountain of information.