E.A. Sports Today

Holmes hopeful

Munford ARCA driver hoping to wrap up a strong season with win in season-ending race in Kansas; has 17 top 10s in 19 starts
From ARCA reports
After a disheartening season in 2018, the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season has been one of resurgence for Bret Holmes.
A full-time college student who also spends time working with his father’s excavation business that helps fund the family-owned race team he drives for (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet), the Munford racer went from parking his racecars before the season ended last fall to challenging for the series championship in a year’s time.
Holmes has been fast over the course of his career, but last year’s inconsistency caused frustration for Holmes and his father Stacy and brought about an early end to their season.
Rather than throw in the towel, they reloaded. Long-time crew chief and former driver Shane Huffman joined the team after a successful run with the 2018 championship-winning MDM Motorsports organization. Huffman brought with him the vocabulary to speak to Holmes driver-to-driver, but also years of experience building race-winning racecars and calling the shots from the pit box.
The results were immediate.
The Donoho grad has scored 17 top-ten finishes in nineteen ARCA Menards Series starts in 2019, more than any other driver including the two fighting for the series championship, Christian Eckes and Michael Self. The only two races he failed to finish among the top ten were the two restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega.
Seven of those top-ten results have been among the top-five, including career-best third-place finishes at Michigan and Chicagoland.
The improved performance and consistency have taken him to third in the championship point standings heading into Friday’s season-ending ARCA Kansas 150 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m., TV: FS2), 135 points out of the lead and 95 points ahead of fourth place Travis Braden. There have even been rumors in the garage of an opportunity in a higher series.
“We’re proud of that for sure,” Holmes said. “We have a lot of top 5s, top 10s, and we’ve completed more laps than anyone. That’s all because of the guys. We haven’t had a failure all year. We’ve always had a reason in the past that we didn’t finish races. We’ve stayed out of trouble this year too. We’ve had a couple I wish we could take back but overall we’ve had a really good season. It’s been a big improvement over the past.”
The one thing that has been missing throughout this resurgent season for Holmes is a visit to victory lane. That’s the final piece of the puzzle and one he hopes to slip into place in Friday night’s finale.
“We were expecting a couple of wins this season,” he said. “We are going into Kansas with that mindset. We tested there last week. We expected a little more but things don’t always work out. That’s just what part of being with a new team.

“Those two guys in front of us have been with the same team for the last couple of years so they’ve had an advantage because they’ve had that same feel in their cars. There’s been a big difference and feel in the cars has been so different than anything I’ve had previously. We had a good test and I am feeling really good about our chances to go and get our first win to close out the season.”

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