E.A. Sports Today

Bret bummed

Additional pit stop, last-lap crash bring painful end to Holmes’ second start at Talladega Superspeedway

Munford’s Bret Holmes (23) was in the middle of the action all race until a crash on the last lap ruined his day. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

TALLADEGA – Bret Holmes took the hardest jolt he’s ever experienced in his racing career on the final lap of Saturday’s General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway, but when he came out of the infield care center he hurt more emotionally than physically.

Holmes got turned in the backstretch making his run for the lead and wound up hitting the outside wall head-on to bring a painful end to his day. He finished 22nd, only his second finish outside the top 13 in 11 career ARCA starts.

“I’m completely fine, but mentally so disappointed in myself,” he said in the hauler while changing out of his race suit. “I had a good points run just staying where I was, but that’s just not who I am.

“I wanted to give myself a chance to win the race. I feel like I let everybody down.”

A series of misfortunes conspired against Holmes in his second ARCA start at Talladega. He pitted with the leaders under caution on Lap 26 for fuel, but only got half a tank. It forced them to pit again to refuel on Lap 40 and in that move he dropped from fifth to 13th and spent the rest of the race trying to get work his way back up the line.

“I don’t really know why we pitted; I didn’t understand that,” Holmes said. “The guys who won the race just pitted once and for some reason we decided to pit twice. I don’t know if they were just worried about us not making it or something.

“That got us back and I feel like we could’ve stayed in like the top four or five if we didn’t come in. We restarted fifth if we didn’t. That doesn’t make any sense. The 52 (Austin Theriault) didn’t pit, the 18 (Riley Herbst) didn’t pit again, a bunch of guys did not pit twice and we’re up front. I got us there and we decided to come down to pit and I have to get back up there.”

“It won’t happen again,” dad and team owner Stacey Holmes said of the fueling mistake.

He had gotten all the way back to sixth and was running in that position when the white flag came out. He had made a deal for drafting help with Sean Corr and they were putting it together on the final lap when the mishap occurred.

Holmes was on Codie Rohrbaugh’s back bumper being pushed by Corr, who some eight hours earlier had appeared in the same ARCA media availability with Holmes. But the connection between Holmes and Rohrbaugh in the draft wasn’t quite as straight on as it needed to be and when Corr came in a tad lower it caused Holmes’ car to lift slightly sending it careening toward the wall.

Corr apologized for his part in the incident afterwards.

Meanwhile, race leader Brandon Lynn lost his chance to win when he ran out of gas after taking the white flag and the crash set up a one-lap shootout that Justin Haley won for his second straight ARCA victory. Andy Seuss finished second and Spencer Davis was third in his first ARCA start.

Haley came from the back of the pack to win. A battery issue dropped him back to 30th, but he battled back and led the final six laps. His last ARCA win came in his last ARCA start, August 2016 in Springfield.

“That was crazy,” he said. “My spotter Kevin Hamlin helped me through it .I didn’t know what I was doing but I listened and did what they told me and it worked out.”

While the winning team celebrated in Victory Lane, Holmes spent the next hour in the infield care center under observation. He was a picture of disappointment when he arrived back at the hauler greeted by team members, family and friends.

Dad Stacey could feel his pain.

“He is trying so hard,” Stacey said. “Bret is putting 110 percent into all that he does.”

Justin Haley celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the General Tire 200 ARCA race.


1-24-28 Justin Haley, 82, Running
2-34-02 Andy Seuss, 82, Running
3-8-15 Spencer Davis, 82 Running
4-5-52 Austin Theriault, 92, Running
5-7-22 Shane Lee, 82, Running
6-23-32 Gus Dean, 82, Running
7-26-5 Bobby Gerhart, 82, Running
8-20-18 Riley Herbst, 82, Running
9-4-5 Tom Hessert, 82, Running
10-22-42 Bo LeMastus, 82, Running
11-9-27 A.J. Fike, 82, Running
12-11-9 Thomas Praytor, 82, Running
13-17-3 Ray Ciccarelli, 82, Running
14-31-7 Codie Rohrbaugh, 82, Running
15-36-46 Sean Corr, 81, Running
16-12-34 Willie Mullins, 81, Running
17-14-48 Brad Smith, 81, Running
18-21-88 Brandon Lynn, 80, Running
19-37-67 Cody Lane, 78, Running
20-18-06 Don Thompson, 77, Running
21-19-0 Con Nicolopoulos, 76, Running
22-15-23 Bret Holmes, 75, Running
23-30-57 Bryan Dauzat, 72, Out
24-10-10 Ed Pompa, 65, Out
25-28-80 Caesar Bacarella, 56, Out
26-32-75 Benny Chastain, 52, Out
27-2-77 Dalton Sargeant, 39, Out
28-29-98 Leilani Munter, 38, Out
29-27-08 Ricky Sanders, 36, Out
30-3-55 Noah Gragson, 36, Out
31-6-78 Kyle Weatherman, 36, Out
32-25-66 Mark Thompson, 36, Out
33-16-69 Will Kimmel, 36, Out
34-35-37 David LeBeau, 36, Out
35-13-2 Eric Caudell, 18, Out
36-33-33 Terry Jones, 8, Out
—-20 Zane Smith, DNS
Margin of Victory: 0.128 seconds. Cautions: 4 for 24. Red flag: 1 for 13:42. Time of race: 1:37.37. Average speed: 134.067. Lap Leaders: Noah Gragson (1), Austin Theriault (30), Bennyu Chasten (1), Kyle Weatherman (4), Shane Lee (21), Brandon Lynn (19), Justin Haley (6). Fastest Lap of the Race: Tom Hessert, 50.362 (190.143).

To see a gallery of B.J. Franklin photos from the General Tire 200 go to www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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