Photo Credit: Barry Cantrell/Short Track Spotlight
The name Bret Holmes is one you should keep in mind for the future in the ARCA Racing Series.
The latest driver hailing from Alabama to make his presence known in the series, the 18-year-old out of Munford, Ala. scored a top-five finish in his maiden start in his No. 23 Veterans Oil Chevrolet.
Bringing his car home with a fifth-place finish in the Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Holmes lived up to some rather lofty expectations with his run on Sunday night.
After all, Holmes entered the race weekend in the race-winning GMS Racing Chevrolet (now owned under Holmes’s name) from last year. Having the defending race winner, 2015 ARCA champion Grant Enfinger, sitting atop his pit box as his crew chief also helped raise the stakes for the youngster.
Speaking to The Fourth Turn at the Fairgrounds, Holmes’s original goal was a top-10 finish in his debut. To better that and score a top-five is leaving the 18-year-old feeling satisfied exiting his first race in the series.
“I’m pretty satisfied,” Holmes said. “Being my first race, I definitely thought we had a top-five, top-three car. A lot of it was due to the fact that we didn’t get to come back and bolt on the last four tires. That happens. That’s just a gamble you take with races.”
Holmes was a mainstay in the top-10 throughout the night. From spending six laps in the lead to hanging around towards the tail end of the top-10, he received plenty of experience as to how these races progress. Holmes also learned lessons in how to best preserve a car throughout a run.
Eyeing a Rookie of the Year run in 2017, Holmes will use the knowledge he gained in Nashville for his six remaining ARCA starts this year at Talladega Superspeedway, Lucas Oil Raceway, Berlin Raceway, Salem Speedway (Fall Classic), Kentucky Speedway and Kansas Speedway.
“It was a pretty big learning experience getting used to the weight of the car and the horsepower definitely showed me more for the next race – maybe not so much Talladega – but how much to save tires throughout the race,” Holmes said. “That’s why I think we were a lot better in the start because I was really aggressive in the start with restarts and stuff like that in the short run.
“Now I’ve learned more about getting used to the adjustment of the car and the horsepower and how much it wears out the tires. It’s going to take races to get used to that.”