Kelly Bires Wins at Historic Milwaukee, Clinches Rookie of the Year WalTom Team Now Looking Forward To Earning Second-Straight Championship MILWAUKEE, WI (August 28, 2006) -- Kelly Bires and the WalTom Racing team had the ASA Late Model ...
Kelly Bires Wins at Historic Milwaukee, Clinches Rookie of the Year
WalTom Team Now Looking Forward To Earning Second-Straight Championship
MILWAUKEE, WI (August 28, 2006) -- Kelly Bires and the WalTom Racing team had the ASA Late Model Challenge Series race at The Milwaukee Mile circled on their calendars for weeks. Not only is it the home track for the team, which is based just up the road from the historic speedway, but it's the biggest track the series will run on all year long as well as one of the most prestigious. Also, with an impressive performance at the track, the team could lock up the Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year title.
An impressive performance is exactly what Bires and the WalTom team had. The group took the lead on lap 20 of the 150-lap event and never let go, winning by more than four seconds over an impressive field of ASA Late Model Challenge Series competitors. With two races still to go, Bires has wrapped up the Rookie of the Year title and can now focus his effort into the ASA Challenge Series championship, where he held a 200-plus point lead heading into the Milwaukee weekend.
"It's definitely cool to win here and it's even more special for this WalTom team," said the 21-year-old Bires. "The team is located just a little west of Milwaukee, and it's really (crew chief) Howie (Lettow's) home track, too.
"We came here and tested and had a great car. We figured out a good setup for the track during the test so that when we got here this weekend, we could just focus on the race. I was just hoping the car didn't break. Every lap, that's all that is going through my head. I wasn't worried about hitting my marks or anything, just hoping that everything stayed underneath me. When you have a car that is that good that you don't have to worry about changing, that is all you think about. We can go through a car as much as we want, but there's always things that are unpreventable that could go wrong. Luckily, this time nothing went wrong, and we were able to win."
As a kid, the Wisconsin-native went to several races as a spectator. This time, though, when Bires went to the track, he was more than a spectator. He was a victor.
"I came here to watch some of the Busch and Truck races a couple of times, but I'd never been on the track until the test. I never thought I'd be standing in victory lane here either. So, its an amazing feeling considering the history that this track has."
To say Kelly's performance was dominating would have been an understatement. Bires topped the practice session and then qualified fourth. It took Bires only 20 laps to make his way from his fifth-place starting spot (following the inversion) to the front. Once he got to the front, he wasn't going to be denied the win.
"I was just riding for a while, waiting to check away from people. We had a 150-lap race so there was no sense in burning the car up. (Leader Chad Wood) started getting tight and I wasn't going to sit behind him too much longer, so eventually I got a run and figured there was no sense in staying behind him anymore.
"The spotter kept telling me I was clear by 10 (car lengths). Then it was I was clear by 15. Then he just told me I was checked out. I kept looking in my mirror, but eventually I couldn't see him anymore, so I knew we had some good equipment tonight."
Capped off by the Rookie of the Year title, Bires is on a roll in ASA Late Model competition. His Milwaukee win was aided by the use of a brand-new mount as well.
"Everywhere we've run this year has been short tracks, and we've run the same car at every race except for this one. We brought a brand new piece out for this race. It's nice when you can bring a brand new car to the racetrack and win the first time. Usually you have to massage them a little bit before they can win, so we're pretty happy.
"This win comes at a perfect time, too, because we're getting close to the end of the year and we're looking at the points. Every race we go to, we hope we don't break and we go for a top-five. A few times this year we've gone out and qualified in the top-five and dominated a few races, but we want to win this championship, too. If we keep doing what we're doing, then things will be good. That just makes the whole team feel great."
The WalTom team is now planning on a doubleheader weekend of ASA LM Northern Division racing. They will compete at Hawkeye Downs Speedway (IA) on Friday night, September 1st, and then at Minnesota's Elko Speedway on Sunday, September 3rd.
-credit: waltom racing