When they signed the contract, Kelly Bires was ready to start the year off strong for JR Motorsports, though when it came to Daytona, he wasn’t to be found in either JR Motorsports car.
"It kind of surprised me how many people really knew who I was," Bires said. "That brought attention that you do have some pretty dang loyal fans out there. I think everyone just wanted to see me. They know the opportunity I've got ahead of me, and they wanted to see me racing.”
Everybody began questioning as to what was going on and clarity came out with a statement from JR Motorsports General Manager Kelley Earnhardt on Kelly Bires’ facebook page.
To set the record straight to Kelly's fans, JRM did not pull Kelly out of the car to put Danica in. Kelly was hired to drive the No. 88 full time in 2010 and a separate deal was done with Godaddy.com to run Danica in 13 events in the No. 7. Unfortunately, JRM doesn't have but 12 races sponsored for the No. 88 and part of the nine race sponsorship with Hellmans is to have Dale Jr. drive the No. 88 at Daytona.
We did not have sponsorship to take three cars to Daytona. JRM is committed to running the No. 88 all year long giving Kelly Bires the opportunity to race in more than 30 events this year, which I believe is more then he raced last year. We are very excited to have Kelly in our car this year and hopefully his on track performance will show sponsors that JRM is still a competitive top performing team to attract more sponsorship.
Despite missing the first race at Daytona, Bires still looks hopeful towards the championship, though knowing it’s going to be tough.
"I don't think it's out of the question that we can miss one race and still do it," Bires said. "But you just can't have any DNFs, can't have anything that's going to hurt your points. You've got to have a solid points day every week. You can't have an off-week when you missed one."
This weekend, Bires looks to go out and do well to hopefully pick up more sponsorship.