Kelly Bires had hoped he would get a shot in a Busch Series car this season, but he never thought it would happen so soon. And he never thought he'd find success so quickly.
There is always room for improvement, and I think we are on our way. I see racing in trucks and the Busch Series as experience, and I'd like to get as much experience as I can.
Still, after Jon Wood was sidelined with health issues two races ago, Bires stepped in and has posted 15th- and seventh-place finishes. He hopes to continue his upward trend. Regardless, he'll be thankful simply for the opportunity to start. At this point, experience is what he's after.
"One of my goals was to be in the running for the Rookie of the Year title in the Truck Series, but also to get familiar with the tracks and work my way up to the Busch Series," Bires said. "We figured I would have a chance in a Busch car later this year, but I'm surprised it was this early. We've had a good year so far. There is always room for improvement, and I think we are on our way. I see racing in trucks and the Busch Series as experience, and I'd like to get as much experience as I can."
Especially in two different types of rigs. Bires, a former American Speed Association champion, likes gaining mastery in two different vehicles.
"The trucks and cars have a few similarities, but there are plenty of differences," he said. "Obviously, both the car and truck are heavy, but to drive the Busch car takes a bit more finesse -- more of my driving style."
That's shown in the results. Results which, with experience, could continue to improve.
"I don't have the experience to know what the car can do," he said, "so I've been driving a little conservative."
Parity in the ranks
Unlike its Nextel Cup counterpart, the Busch Series features some parity among its manufacturers. After winning its third consecutive race last weekend when Stephen Leicht won at Kentucky on Saturday night, Ford has seven wins on the season and is tied with Chevrolet. The win leaves second-place Ford just six points behind Chevy heading to Milwaukee this weekend.
Vickers to drive in series
Braun Racing on Tuesday announced that Brian Vickers will drive the No. 32 Toyota Camry in two Busch Series races this season, at Daytona International Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"I'm looking forward to this opportunity to drive for Braun Racing," Vickers said. "It was important to race a Toyota, and with their support, Braun has been running really well this season. So I'm confident that the car they are putting together for me will be just as competitive."
Edwards looks to pad lead
As if his mind-boggling 701-point lead in the Busch Series wasn't enough to afford him a one-week vacation, Carl Edwards will pull cross-country double duty by shuttling from Sonoma, Calif., to Milwaukee to race both the Busch and Nextel Cup events.
"It brings a lot of excitement to this team as Carl travels across country back and forth from Sonoma to Milwaukee," Edwards' crew chief Pierre Kuettel said. "We are looking at having a good setup in the car from Travis [Kvapil] and then have Carl jump in the car and race it to the front."
Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.