Bret Holmes Rebounds from Tough 2018 to Finish Third in 2019 ARCA Menards Series Championship StandingsNovember 14, 2019
After the most frustrating year of his racing career in 2018 that saw his family-owned team take much of the second half of the season off to regroup, Bret Holmes returned to the ARCA Menards Series in 2019 and had the best season of his career.
Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) and his father Stacy withdrew from the series after eleven starts in 2018. Holmes, a student at Auburn University majoring in building sciences, registered only six top-ten finishes in those eleven races, and just one of those was a top-five, that being a fifth-place finish at Toledo in May.
Bret Holmes Racing rebuilt and reconstituted itself over the off season. Crew chief Shane Huffman signed on to lead the team. Fresh off a successful tenure at MDM Motorsports that included him taking Bubba Wallace to victory lane in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Michigan in 2017, Huffman came with a successful record as a crew chief and a driver allowing him to build communication with Holmes, something that had been lacking in the Munford, Alabama native’s early career.
The results were immediate.
Holmes closed the season with eighteen top-ten finishes in twenty starts, leading all drivers in the ARCA Menards Series in that statistical category. The only races he didn’t finish in the top ten were the two “restrictor plate” races at Daytona and Talladega.
Eight of those top-ten finishes were among the top five, with Holmes matching his career-best finish, third, at Michigan, Chicago, and Springfield. Holmes also drove to the lead late in the going at Charlotte before finishing eighth after a pair of overtime attempts.
The strength that Holmes showed throughout the season was impressive, as was his consistency. Despite not cracking the win column, Holmes was able to snatch the CGS Imaging Four Crown championship. The series-within-a-series included races on all four types of tracks the ARCA Menards Series races on, drafting superspeedways, intermediate superspeedways, paved short tracks, and dirt short tracks. In 2018, those events were at Talladega, Michigan, Springfield, and Salem.
Holmes finished 14th at Talladega, but racked up top-five finishes in the remaining three events, including third-place finishes at Michigan and Springfield and a fourth-place run at Salem in September.
The consistency Holmes and Huffman showed resulted in a third-place finish in the final ARCA Menards Series championship standings, just 165 points behind champion Christian Eckes. It also led to Holmes earning the S&S Volvo Laps Completed Award with 2,644 laps completed out of 2,654 possible laps (99.7%).
ARCA’s 67th season will come to a close when Christian Eckes will officially be crowned the 36th ARCA Menards Series champion on Saturday, December 14 at the Championship Banquet held at the Indiana State Convention Center, held annually in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. Tickets to the black tie gala, which are also available to the general public, will go on sale on Monday, October 28.
Written by: ARCA Menards Series PR