Bret Holmes got an early graduation present on Friday at Kansas Speedway. A senior at Auburn University who is due to graduate in December, the 23–year old from Munford, Alabama finished second in the ARCA Menards Series Speediatrics 150 presented by The NASCAR Foundation, and took home the Series’ 2020 title. Rookie Corey Heim claimed his first career victory in dominating fashion, leading 82 of the 100-lap race.
Holmes, in his fifth ARCA season, entered the race a mere eight points ahead of Michael Self in the championship points standings and concluded the season 12 points in front of Self (953-941), who finished fifth in the race.
“This is something we’ve been working towards for a few years now,” Holmes said. “The way we did was different with starting our own team. To have it finally pay off is a really good feeling.”
Holmes had some periods of doubt in his career, but it was the ones closest to him who gave him the boost that he needed.
“I knew in the back of my head I had the potential to do it,” said Holmes, who will graduate with a degree in building science following the completion of his senior thesis. “Those couple of years, especially in 2018, it got tough and I thought about quitting at some point. That’s a really tough thing to admit about a sport you love. If it wasn’t for my friends and family who kept pushing me this wouldn’t have been possible. They gave me the confidence that I had lost. Knowing you can come into each race with a chance to win makes it that much better.”
Holmes won the Dawn 150 when the ARCA Menards Series visited Kansas in July, his first career win and only victory in 2020. His No. 23 Golden Eagle Syrup Chevrolet started second in Friday night’s race with the field set owner points, and Holmes led the first 18 laps as Self battled early fuel pressure.
Holmes entered the season finale needing just a third-place finish to guarantee himself the championship regardless of what Self did – and his Bret Holmes Racing team delivered more than enough points.
“It’s been a tough road, for sure,” said Holmes. “Everything we’ve done has just been phenomenal this season, every decision we’ve made. To come out and not even know we were going to run the full season, and to finish it off like this is really special.
“To move to the next level, if it’s going to take me scratching and starving, that’s what I’m going to do. Because I know we deserve to be here.”
The 18-year old Heim, who graduated from Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia this past spring, finished 1.574 seconds ahead of the new champion. Prior to tonight his previous best finish in the ARCA Series was third.
“It was awesome,” said Heim. “I knew right from the first five laps we had a really good race car. We got right to the front in the first 20 laps. I just ended up putting it to them. To be able to control the pace tonight played into my hands. Speed has not been issue with this team. We’ve always been really fast. We just had to play our cards right, get the track position and put ourselves where we needed to be. Tonight everything went right.”
Hailie Deegan, who finished in sixth-place tonight, was third in the season points standings (887) and was the 2020 ARCA Menards Series Bounty Rookie of the Year.
Kansas Speedway’s fall race weekend will continue Saturday with the running of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Clean Harbors 200 at 3 pm CT (FOX), to be followed by the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 at 6 pm CT (NBCSN). Both races will commence the Round of 8 for the Playoffs in each series.
The weekend will be capped by the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday at 1:30 pm (NBC). That race will also mark the start in the Round of 8 for the Playoffs in the Cup Series. A limited number of fans will be in attendance for the race in accordance with enhanced safety protocols and procedures to provide a safe experience. All available inventory for the race is sold out. All guests will be screened before entering the facility and must maintain six-feet of social distancing throughout the venue. Guests three years of age and older will be required to wear face coverings at all times. In addition, tailgating and coolers will not be permitted (clear bags up to 18″x18″x14″ in size will be allowed). Guests with grandstand seats will be assigned a designated entry time and gate for entering the venue. Detailed fan protocols can be found at www.kansasspeedway.com/return.
The following is the remaining schedule for Kansas Speedway’s 2020 fall NASCAR weekend:
Saturday, Oct. 17: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Clean Harbors 200 (200 miles)* 3:00 pm (FOX)
Saturday, Oct. 17: NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 (300 miles)* 6:00 pm (NBCSN)
Sunday, Oct. 18: NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 (400 miles)* 1:30 pm (NBC)
Times are CT
*Denotes first race in Playoffs Round of 8
Kansas Speedway PR