E.A. Sports Today

Holmes on the move

Former Donoho pitcher continues to rise in stock-car racing circles, touted as a top-performing young driver in the sport

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

MUNFORD – Bret Holmes is somewhere right now. He is somewhere on the road heading to his next racing venue in either late models or ARCA. He is somewhere between a college student and a race car driver. He is somewhere between finding out where he belongs in a sport that has so many places to land.

One thing for sure, though, the former Donoho pitcher has traded in his glove — completely now — for the steering wheel and the chance to make it to NASCAR’s biggest stage.

“I raced go-karts at 8 years old and was like, ‘Man, this is fun,’” Holmes said. “It was mostly a hobby, and then as I got older I realized I could have a future in it, and that’s when I started making my first priority racing.”

That approach has caused the 18-year-old to miss out on some activities normally associated with people of his age, but he knows where he wants to be and the sacrifices it takes to become great.

He is now a freshman at Auburn, but still tries to get to the shop as much as he can to work on the car and learn about racing.

“We have one weekend off in February for the next three months,” he said during a recent walk through the shop. “The season ended in December and then started back up in January, so there is not a lot of time off, but that’s what it takes. Seat time is so important to becoming a good racer and, believe me, I get plenty of that.”

The plan is to run seven ARCA races this season starting at Nashville in a few weeks. The team has purchased championship equipment from GMS Racing out of North Carolina — the shop that produced the reigning ARCA Series champions — that will allow it to put a race-winning car on the track every week.

They still plan to run their late model car, where he should add to his 52 career wins.

“We have an excellent opportunity with this new equipment,” Holmes said. “We own all of our own stuff now and that is really a big advantage. Also we have great people that work with us to make this thing run.”

Over the past few weeks he has been testing at Daytona International Speedway in his new ARCA car.

Most 18-year-olds would be a little nervous just getting around that track; he ran third quickest. It was his first time on a track of this size.

“That was an amazing experience for me,” Holmes said. “We ended up running third fastest at one point and really had a good showing, but I still wanted to be quicker. There is just so much history there, and just to get to run was an awesome time.”

It’s a good introduction to what he can expect when he runs laps at Talladega Superspeedway for the first time in his life in the Talladega ARCA 200 April 29.

“It’s going to be really nerve-wracking,” he said. “I grew up going down to the races there and to get to run on that track is going to be life-changing. I will have tons of family and friends down there. If there is such a thing as home-field advantage in racing, I believe I will have it.”

As he moves towards that important date, Holmes will continue to advance his career with each week’s race. With the support of his father Stacy, who has raced his entire life, he has the right amount of people around him to help promote his dream and make it a reality.

“With our team and everyone around me,” Holmes said, “I have an excellent opportunity to perform well this year and continue into the future.“

Photo courtesy of Bret Holmes.

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