Rookie Holmes off on solid ground...looks ahead to Nashville
By Don Radebaugh of arcaracing.com
TOLEDO, Ohio (March 6, 2017) -- It helps to get the season off on solid ground and with a car in one piece. Fortunately, that's how it happened for Munford, Alabama rookie Bret Holmes who finished 6th in the season-opener at Daytona. That also places Holmes in 6th position in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards national championship points headed to the next race at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville April 8.
"I don't think anyone's satisfied till they win, but we'll take it," said Holmes from the college campus at Auburn University where he's a full-time student.
"It was only my second superspeedway race. We learned some things for Talladega, and we left with the car in one piece...that was most important. It's the last race for these steel bodies so now we have something to take to Talladega."
And even better, Holmes gets to go back to Nashville next where he made his ARCA debut last year. It's not just a track he's seen before, but he knows he was a major-league factor in the ARCA race, qualifying outside pole and finishing 5th. Holmes is taking the same car back to Nashville.
"We have a great Nashville car. We're bringing the same piece back, same set-up, but with a little more pull-down time on the car. If it's not broke, don't fix it. I felt we had the best car there last year."
Holmes was indeed impressive in his series debut. His 2nd-place qualifying effort was a new one-lap track record before Chase Briscoe bumped him from the General Tire Pole late in the going. Holmes also led laps early on, but the wrong pit strategy prevented him from driving to victory lane.
"Josh (Williams/race winner) gambled the right way and we gambled the wrong way. We left four fresh tires in our pit box we planned to put on for the end. We took two and he took four. We never came back in...never had the chance. I don't care how good of a driver you are...old tires won't beat new tires."
Like several of the ARCA teams, Holmes and his Bret Holmes Racing team are planning to test at Nashville ahead of the race.
"I think we're plugged in to test on the 22nd...same day as Cunningham and Schrader's team. I still feel like we had the best car last year, and I think we can improve a little. I don't see us getting much faster than we were, but I can see a little redemption...get what we deserve."
Holmes, despite his rookie status on the ARCA Racing Series tour, has more seat-time at Nashville than most in the field.
"I know the track well...I've raced there close to eight or 10 times. It's good two-lane racing,..great racing all the way around. My past experience in late models should help. You race the ARCA car totally different, but the line is the same...but how hard you push the car is completely different."
Holmes ended with the same sentiment he began with. "We should have won Nashville."
The upcoming Music City 200 presented by Jive marks the 26th ARCA race at Fairgrounds Speedway since its debut on the famous short track in 1959. This year's event will also include the North-South Shootout with the Southern Super Series and the ARCA CRA Super Series combo race. Last year, CRA got added to the Super Late Model mix to create the North-South Shootout. The field saw a jump to 35 cars featuring some of the best short-track racers in the country, with Donnie Wilson winning the top prize over Steven Wallace.
Super Late Models have a practice session Friday night, April 7 from 4-7 p.m. Then on Saturday, April 8, North-South Shootout practice will begin at 12 noon, with North-South Shootout qualifying at 3. General Tire Pole Qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series is at 4:15, with racing action following at 5:45 with the North-South Shootout presented by Team Construction 100. Race fans will be treated to the ARCA Racing Series Music City 200 grand finale at 8.
Discounted presale tickets for the event are available for $25, a $5 discount off race day ticket prices. They are available by calling the event promoters Track Enterprises at 615-470-5214 or 217-764-3200.