Nashville II: Kelly Bires preview

BIRES, CLOROX TEAM TO FOCUS ON BIG PICTURE AT NASHVILLE It took days for the Clorox race team to make a checklist of things they want to accomplish in the brief practice session for Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville ...

BIRES, CLOROX TEAM TO FOCUS ON BIG PICTURE AT NASHVILLE

It took days for the Clorox race team to make a checklist of things they want to accomplish in the brief practice session for Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway. And very little of that time is dedicated to pole qualifying.

Driver Kelly Bires and crew chief Scott Zipadelli both focus on the big picture -- the 200-lap main event on the 1.333-mile tri-oval.

"Sitting on the pole doesn't pay a thing," Zipadelli said. "You only get paid after the race, so we don't spend a lot of time working on qualifying setups. We use every minute of the little practice time they give us getting ready for the race."

Bires has made good use of his practice time, especially at Nashville. He started fifth and finished fifth there earlier this year.

"We started thinking about this race as soon as we left Nashville in March," Bires said. "We made a lot of notes at the end of the race so we know where to start this time around. We were one or two small adjustments away from contending for a win. We'll make those changes before Saturday's race starts, so we should be good from the start."

None of those notes, however, applies to qualifying. The team will make minor air pressure adjustments and tape up the front grille, but it won't venture too far away from race preparation.

"It's a lot more important to get Kelly comfortable for the race," Zipadelli said. "We've found we're better when he's getting experience with the race setup. He's really smart when it comes to qualifying. He doesn't take a lot of unnecessary risks. We can practice with one setup and send him out with a qualifying package without worrying."

Bires likes the way the No. 47 Clorox Ford adapts to Nashville. Although it's concrete, it has its own characteristics that separate it from other concrete tracks.

"It's a little bit flatter and it's not like anywhere else we go," he said. "The concrete is a real challenge because you feel every expansion joint, every bump. But I like it. The fact we have a good history there makes me like it even more."

Practice for the race is during the heat of the afternoon. Qualifying is at 3:30 p.m. ET. Teams basically are required to start the main event with their qualifying setups. The race doesn't start until 7:30 and it ends during the coolness of nighttime.

"The stuff we work on during practice is for the night," Bires said. "It's not easy to look for things during the afternoon that apply to the night. But we can tell what should happen at night by the way the car reacts during the day. There's a method to everything we do." And it's on their checklist.

-credit: jtgr

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kelly Bires