DREAM DARLINGTON DEBUT RUINED FOR BIRES Kelly Bires was on the verge of a dream Darlington debut when he was the innocent victim of a wreck with three laps remaining in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina ...
DREAM DARLINGTON DEBUT RUINED FOR BIRES
Kelly Bires was on the verge of a dream Darlington debut when he was the innocent victim of a wreck with three laps remaining in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina today.
Bires qualified in 10th position in the #47 Clorox Ford Fusion and did not put a foot wrong all race. In the closing stages Bires pitted for fresh tires when many others did not, putting the 23-year-old in ninth position with good tires at a restart with three laps remaining.
As the field accelerated for the green flag the car of Mark Martin, who was in second, baulked as it ran low on fuel and was clipped by Jason Leffler in third. As Martin spun Bires went high and looked to have avoided the wreck, but as the field checked up Bires was hit from behind by Mike Bliss and spun into the outside wall.
The #47 Clorox Ford Fusion sustained heavy front-end damage and any chance of Bires securing a top ten on his Darlington debut vanished. Indeed, with Bires on fresh tires, an outstanding top five finish was a distinct possibility.
Bires was classified in 24th position and after 12 races in this year's NASCAR Nationwide Series the Wisconsin native sits 14th in the points standings.
Some consolation for Bires is the fact that he was awarded the WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race Award in tonight's race, claiming the award for the first time this season. Bires led two laps and was consistently in the front pack all night.
Tony Stewart won today's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway ahead of fellow Sprint Cup drivers Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann.
Kelly Bires - #47 Clorox Ford Fusion
"We had a great Clorox Ford all night long and ran a really strong race," said Bires.
"I made one small mistake there mid-race where we brushed the wall but we repaired it in the pits and I don't think we were alone on that count.
"We had new tires so we were really making a run there at the end and we would have grabbed another couple of spots. It would have been a really good recovery.
"The #5 car slowed, I think he was low on fuel or he missed a gear, and I was already around him but drilled from behind and it put us in the wall. It was one of those deals and not anyone's fault.
"I am looking at the positives, because we had a great car and the outcome could have been a top five, but certainly a top 10 if we got through that wreck.
"We keep running well and we've been consistently there and that was a big goal of ours this season.
"When we run like that it's a really good thing for the team. That we didn't get the result we deserve is tough but it happens, but at least we can hold our heads up and say the Clorox Ford is improving all the time and is one of the cars that is running strong.
"You can't look at that result right there as a disappointment. We had a fast racecar all night and won the WIX award."
"I'm looking forward to running the test at Lowe's Motor Speedway and then running run in Charlotte race."