When Opportunity Knocked Kelly Bires Took Full Advantage and Delivered
Kevin Harvick was originally scheduled to run in Saturday's Nationwide race, the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Harvick planned to graciously step out of the drivers seat and give Kelly Bires the opportunity to drive the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 33 Charter Communication car at Nashville.
Bires is an immensely talented driver that was caught up in an ownership buy in a JTG Daugherty Racing, add a driver shuffle due to a alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing and the economy doesn't help matters.
He's only picked up a couple of races with Braun Racing before getting the one-off deal with KHI.
Bires would take full advantage of the opportunity given him and ended up with his best career finish in his Nationwide racing career.
He would finish fourth at Nashville. He ran a great race and never fell further back than 11th place.
Bires battled brake issues along with a loose race car for most of the race.
His crew chief Ernie Cope and spotter Rick Carelli helped him with tips to get through the corners better without using too much brake.
On the last pit stop, the KHI pit crew were bitten by the loose lug nut bug that's running rampant in all three of NASCAR top series.
On the restart he was running 11th, but Bires would be running seventh 11 laps later, and with eight laps left in the race made a great three wide pass for fifth.
With three laps to go, he chased down Carl Edwards and passed him for fourth.
He ran a great race. No doubt without the brake or loose condition issues he probably would have a higher finish, or even won.
"I have to thank Kevin and Delana (Harvick) for giving me this great opportunity," Bires said.
"Thanks to the guys at KHI and the ones who have been here all weekend working to make this car better. It was alot of fun out there and we had a great car, just a little loose throughout the day. We were able to recover from a bad stop late in the race to get a top five finish. I'm just proud to have had this opportunity".
Bires doesn't know what's next, or when the next time we'll see him racing in a Nationwide race.
One thing is certain: I'm sure his one race deal will turn into more races with KHI.
The No. 33 car seems to be full with Cale Gale, Ryan Newman and Ron Hornaday Jr. scheduled to run select races. Plus Harvick still will be driving the car in more races, along with Tony Stewart in a couple more.
Could we see them put together, or try to get some sponsorships together to bring back the No. 77 for a number of races with Bires driving?
We'll just have to wait and see, but I do hope his phone rings.
He definitely could be a great driver for one of the struggling Nationwide teams that desperately needs to make a driver change to survive.
A hungry driver like Bires who just wants a chance to drive could be what they need to rejuvenate their race teams.
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