By Kari Shear-Carlson
May 25, 2012 – When he was 15 years old, a young Kelly Bires met Howie Lettow as he was in transition from go karts to stock cars. Knowing Lettow’s reputation, Bires was not shy to ask him the best route for his future. It was that one interaction that led to a relationship that Kelly will cherish forever.
Bires will be racing in the Swiss Colony Howie Lettow Memorial 150 presented by RaceTeamGear.com when the American Speed Association® Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment and Lester Buildings heads to the Milwaukee Mile on June 12th, 2012.
Howie Lettow made such an impact in so many people’s lives and that is what the Howie Lettow Memorial 150 is all about. Howie was a quiet man, but never stopped thinking. When Bires first met him he remembered those very same things. “I remember him being very quiet when I first met him. He was always at the shop at the same time everyday and constantly working during the week. I think I brought a little youth into the shop when I came in and it seemed to open him up just a little bit. When we were at the track it was all business. He was always thinking about the car and what he could do to make it better,” admired Bires.
The relationship between Bires and Lettow extended beyond the race track and that was how their personal relationship grew. “We went fishing together even after the year we were together. He would continue coming to my races. We just got along great and respected each other,” Bires added.
In 2006, Howie Lettow and Kelly Bires won the ASALMS championship. That championship included one of the most memorable wins for both Bires and Lettow; a win at the Milwaukee Mile. “That win was a really big deal for all of us. The race shop was only 20 miles away and Howie lived in the area all of his life. It was one of the bigger wins and it meant a lot to him,” added Bires.
On June 12th, Bires will return to the Milwaukee Mile but with a little bit of a different perspective. While he always goes into a race for the win, it is the meaning behind the event that made him decide to race. He initially heard about it from a few friends who worked on the team. “As soon as I heard about it I, I immediately signed up and started looking for a way to make it happen.”
Robert Maynor, who provided a car for Bires at the Slinger Nationals last year, jumped at the opportunity to work with him again and knew what running this event would mean. “There’s nothing in it for us. No financial reward. It was important to me that we did this race for Kelly because of where he came from and the influence Howie had on his life,” said Maynor, owner of HM Product Solutions in Hartland, WI.
Bires will be racing against the ECHO and ECHO Bear Cat Touring Stars and the rest of the ASAMT, what he called, “probably one of the most elite divisions across the country of competition.” Add in all of the NASCAR stars and other drivers coming up to compete and the level of competition will be like no other.
However, Kelly sees beyond that and grasps what it is really all about. “I think the reason you see so many drivers coming to compete is not just because it’s a big race, but it is because so many people knew Howie and what he accomplished and just want to be a part of it. It is just flat going to be a great event,” said Bires.
“Win or lose, when the checkered flag falls, I think everyone is going to come out of there a winner,” Bires added.
A limited number of VIP passes will be available for companies and fans. The VIP Pavilion presented by Budweiser package includes a special dinner, exclusive question and answer session with the night’s stars and a special autograph session. There will also be a rare race memorabilia auction to benefit the MACC Fund.
For more information or to purchase VIP passes, contact the ASA Midwest Tour offices at 630-212-6022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Race fans are encouraged to visit www.ASArace.com for complete event details, and to save $10 by purchasing tickets online for the June 12th event in advance of the June 1st deadline.
Be sure to follow the ASA Midwest Tour on Facebook (asamidwesttour) and Twitter (@asamidwesttour).
To learn more about the American Speed Association® Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment and Lester Buildings, log on to asamidwesttour.com. For questions call the ASA Midwest Tour office at (630) 212-6022 or Tim Olson at (612) 327-5831 or e-mail Tim Olson at email@example.com or Steve Einhaus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Daytona Beach, Florida-based Racing Speed Associates or the American Speed Association® Racing Member Track program, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. For news and information from racetracks and regional tours involved in the American Speed Association®, visit www.asaracing.com.