E.A. Sports Today

‘On track now’

Munford’s Holmes sporting new colors, logo, personnel and confidence as he heads into his second full season of ARCA racing

Bret Holmes’ ARCA car features a new paint scheme for 2018, just one of several changes the team has for the upcoming season.

Special to East Alabama Sports Today

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – There is a whole lot of new around the Bret Holmes racing team as the Munford driver prepares to take the green flag on his second full season on the ARCA racing circuit.

There’s new personnel, a new paint scheme and retro-style logo, a bigger financial commitment and a renewed confidence as the team looks to lap the inconsistencies that stunted its success a year ago.


“I’ll be the first to tell you that we made it through some tough learning experiences last season,” Holmes said. “We went through two crew chiefs, a few cars, and a lot of money with no wins to show for it. We had to make some crucial changes, and I think we made those. My dad and I sat down after Kansas and decided what direction we thought the team needed to go in. I think we are definitely on track now.”

Team owner and driver dad Stacy Holmes basically cleaned house in the off-season, keeping only chief mechanic Mike Abram. He expanded the team to seven members and doubled the number of full-timers. He brought Nick Moncher aboard as general manager and NASCAR veteran Ben Leslie as crew chief.

Bret made 20 ARCA starts last season with a dozen top 10 finishes and a pair of top fives. His best finishes were a couple of fourths at Elko and Michigan. He was third in rookie points and sixth overall, but it was a year fraught with frustration.

“We learned a lot last season and it just seemed to be something all the time that was either slowing us down or not allowing the team to gel correctly,” Stacy said. “I have brought in some new guys to our crew who have really stepped up to the plate since we brought them over during the off-season. I think you will really see a big difference this year in comparison to the last.”

They’ll also look different on the track as well as behind the wall. Instead of the traditional yellow-and-blue paint scheme that has adorned the No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet since the team’s inception in 2016, the colors will now be blue and white that mix well with associate sponsors like Southern States Bank and Champion Power Equipment.

“We just felt like we needed a fresh start,” Bret said. “I wanted to go with a different logo that would kind of give everything a different feel. Same goes with the color scheme. New look … new feel … new team. I think times are changing, we are more mature and 2018 seems to already be shaping up to be a great one.”

The team did suffer a setback in its run-up to their season debut in the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona when Leslie sustained serious leg burns in a January fire at the shop in Statesville, N.C. Team officials report Leslie is doing well and recovering at his home in North Carolina. The No. 23 will be adorned with a special decal this week wishing Leslie a speedy recovery.

It is anticipated Leslie will rejoin the team for the Nashville race in April. His duties will be absorbed within the team in the meantime.

The Lucas Oil 200, which kicks off the 66th consecutive season for ARCA, takes the green flag at 3:50 p.m. Saturday. It will be carried live on FS1 starting at 3:30.

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