E.A. Sports Today

From dirt to Daytona

Munford’s Holmes takes on ‘World Center of Racing’ in the first race of his first full season in ARCA

Bret Holmes (L) talks strategy with new crew chief Bryan Berry during a break at Daytona. On the cover and below, Holmes leads the draft during an ARCA practice session.

Special to East Alabama Sports Today

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bret Holmes has driven around a vast assortment of dirt and asphalt tracks across the United State in his 11-year racing career. While those facilities have brought him ample amounts of success and experience, they pale in comparison to the legendary Daytona International Speedway, as the Munford native kicks off his 2017 ARCA campaign Saturday in the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire.

“It’s a track that needs no hype,” Holmes said. “Daytona is a place that I grew up watching on TV, just hoping that I would one day get to see an event in person, let alone, race at it.

“I’ve been very grateful for the opportunity to be able to test here in the past year, but now it’s time to do what has always been my dream: Race at Daytona International Speedway.”

Holmes, who still calls Alabama home although the race shop has moved to the Carolinas, has come a long way from running dirt tracks across the Yellowhammer State to now running at the “World Center of Racing,” and he couldn’t be more thrilled.

“I started racing at small dirt tracks across Alabama just like my dad,” he said. “I am excited, anxious, and humbled by the opportunity to run at this level, but it just shows you how far we’ve come. Not many people get this kind of opportunity and I don’t take it lightly.”

Holmes got a brief taste of running in the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards last season with a limited seven-race schedule, and even though it was only a few events, he put together a record that included three top-5’s, six top-10’s and an average finishing position of 8.6. And with that resume as a springboard, he looks for 2017 to be his break out season and set him apart as a name to be reckoned with.

“This season will be a test for myself and our team,” Holmes said. “I believe though with the advances we made over the offseason in technology and with our staff, we can really separate ourselves as a team that can contend for the win on a weekly basis.”

As previously announced, Holmes and BHR come into this weekend on the heels of a big offseason for their newly formed ARCA team.

Since the end of last season, the organization has moved its shop from Munford to Statesville, N.C., on the campus of GMS Racing, which is providing technical support to the team. Along with the move, Bryan Berry was announced as Holmes’ new Crew Chief, replacing 2015 ARCA Champion Grant Enfinger, who will be driving full-time this season in the Camping World Truck Series with ThorSport Racing.

In addition to a new Crew Chief, BHR will tap Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spotter Earl Barban for this weekend’s event. Barban is most famously known for his work with defending Cup Series Champion Jimmy Johnson.

Holmes will also compete for both the SCOTT Rookie of the Year and the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards Championship this season.

“We are here to win,” Holmes said. “I think that we have the right pieces in place, and hopefully the 2017 season will be one that we can say one day was the beginning of something great.”

Action starts today at Daytona, with cars on-track and practice scheduled from 4-6 p.m. ET. Final practice will be Friday morning with qualifying later in the afternoon.

The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire is live on FS1 Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. ET.

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