Charles Krall (ARCA Racing): Welcome to this week’s edition of Ten Questions. We spent a lot of time talking to some drivers from the ARCA Menards Series and now we are going to venture way out to the West coast and talk to some of the drivers from the ARCA Menards Series West, and first up is one of the drivers for Bill McAnally Racing, Holley Hollan. Holley we appreciate you joining us this week.
Holley Hollan (Bill McAnally Racing driver): Thanks for having me. I’ve just been sitting around the house so it’s good to have something to look forward to.
CK: These are really tough, difficult questions. Are you ready?
CK: The most difficult question right off the the top of the box here, and this is really going to be a shocker. If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world where would you want to go?
HH: I want to go to Bora Bora really bad and stay in one of those huts they have. That would be my number one pick.
CK: What is it about Bora Bora other than the floating huts that sounds so peaceful? I have had other friends tell me they would like to go there. Is it the fact it’s out in the middle of the ocean and there’s no one else there?
HH: Yeah, I think a lot of that too. The water is so clear and I am really into swimming and I love being out in the water and being out in the sun. Just from the video and the pictures that I have seen the water seems super clear and that just attracts me a lot. I love to spend time outside so that would be pretty cool.
RACING-REFERENCE: Holley Hollan Career Statistics
CK: Okay, question number two: what’s your favorite thing to do away from the race track?
HH: I like to spend time with friends and family. I like to go to church. Obviously some of those things have been put on hold. I like to spend time outside. I really like to be outside. I do pretty much all of my workouts outside. I like to swim too, but the pool is closed at my apartment right now so that sucks.
CK: The things I’ve been doing on lockdown is I spend a lot of time walking and riding my bike. It’s literally the only thing you can do.
CK: So I graduated, I am almost ashamed to tell you this, I graduated high school way back in 1990, thirty years ago. I am old. My favorite class was French class, even though I don’t remember a single word of French. Can’t read any of it but I was really good at it in high school. What was your favorite class in school and what was your least favorite class in school?
HH: I graduated last year, and I graduated a year early. I would be a senior right now, and it would suck to be a senior now. I started doing online school halfway through my freshmen year. That was pretty convenient when I started making that transition moving to North Carolina and not having to juggle with school too. I was never really good at school, I just put in a lot of effort. If there was ever any extra credit I would do it. I was never book smart. I didn’t really enjoy being there all day every day, but some people do. I was pretty good at English and I enjoyed science. I was never really a math person, It didn’t come easy to me.
CK: Me neither!
HH: I was terrible at Spanish. I wish I would have been better at it. I had to take two and a half years of it. I was never really good at school, I just tried really hard to make good grades so I could go race.
CK: I just did the bare minimum too. You’ve been around racing your whole life. For those who don’t know your story, your family has been involved in open wheel racing in Oklahoma since you were very young, probably since before you were born. You’ve been around a lot of really cool people in racing. If you could pick anyone, living or dead, racing or non-racing, who would you want to hang out with the night before a race and go out to dinner with and where would you want to go?
HH: That’s a tough one. I grew up going to Port City Raceway and I enjoy watching my dad race. I always called him my hero growing up, his name was Donnie Ray Crawford. I would always watch him and my dad race for the win and I was always cheering for Donnie Ray to win. He passed away when I was pretty young. He was like a brother to me. If I could have dinner with anyone before a race it would probably be him. He helped me a lot. I was racing for probably two or three years when he passed away. It sucks I can’t sit down and have a conversation with him because I would probably appreciate more now than I would have then.
CK: That is a fantastic answer. I greatly appreciate you sharing that story with us. You have to cheer for dad though! That’s how that works!
HH: Yeah, I got a lot of crap for that! If I would tear up the car a little bit he’d always be like "well, Donnie Ray can fix it!"
CK: So as you said, you just graduated from high school so you are still very young. What kind of example would you like to set for those who follow you into racing after you do?
HH: A big thing for me is being a good role model. Growing up racing at the same track, having a home track and racing there often, I realized the young kids, especially the girls looked up to me and watched me. Especially when I was off the track. Something I learned at a young age is to just be aware of what you are doing and what you are saying. It all comes into play. Being a racecar driver is more than just being a race car driver. It’s something I have come to appreciate, the people can handle themselves well off the track just as well as on the track. It’s something I look up to with other drivers, to be able to look up to their personality off the track. Even if they’re good and don’t have a personality, it’s hard to be a role model that way. Staying humble and not forgetting where you come from. That goes with when I go back and I race where I grew up racing. It’s always been super important to me to set a good example for the people around me and represent my sponsors and my family and my team the way that I should. Realizing I am not just representing myself at that point is important. As you go up through the ranks, sponsors in the pavement world are a lot bigger. With JBL, and I was with SiriusXM last year, those are big names you see in your car and your house, these people are branding you with them and you have to represent them the way they represent their company. Just sticking to my values and what I believe in, and being around the right crowd has always been important to me. My circle is pretty small but I like to keep it that way.
CK: The first car that I had was a 1985 – and again, I am very old – a 1985 four-door Dodge Omni. It topped out at 82 miles an hour but only if you were going down a steep hill with a tail wind. It was not the greatest car in the world. What was your first car?
HH: My first car is the one I have right now. For my 16th birthday I got a Toyota Camry. I was just getting into the Toyota family when I was 15. I wanted a Toyota Camry. We went to a race out in Arizona and that was one of our rental cars. After I drove it – I know I wasn’t supposed to be driving but I did – after I drove it I wanted one of them. It was funny because I got my permit three months late because of some race. They would only do it on Saturdays. I raced on Saturdays. I got my permit late which made me get my license late. It drove me crazy because I wanted to get a car on my sixteenth birthday. I was pretty lucky. I still have it. I like to wash it, detail it and take care of it. I wash it like three times a week. It rains in North Carolina all the time.
CK: That’s the way to make it rain, is to wash your car.
Again, you’re young and very early in your racing career but I can tell by the way you’re chatting with me that you have a very strong personality and you are very confident in yourself. What do you think the biggest contribution is that you bring to your Bill McAnally Racing team?
HH: Thanks. Being able to lead your team. You hear that all the time with drivers. They set the mood with the team. I am very competitive. You can ask some of the people I have worked with, I am not always the best to be around and that’s something I try to work on. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re very competitive and you’re two-tenths off, it’s hard to have the best attitude. Being able to overcome that and carry yourself well is important. It’s something I have been trying to work on for my team and for myself. This pavement world is completely new to me. I just try to keep a good attitude and believe in myself and the team. I am not used to being able to talk and listen on the radio, that is quite a bit different. Having to think in the moment and give feedback. You know how girls can be with having an attitude sometimes…
CK: No, no, never!
HH: Being cautious about the way that I am being. The first test I did with Bill McAnally Racing, Bill talked to us before we went out for the test and said even on the worst day ever you still have to lead these guys. That’s super important. I feel like I have moved up the ranks pretty quickly. I am fortunate for the opportunities Toyota has given me. I was going to race midgets for another full year and then things changed. You have to be ready for that kind of stuff. I haven’t won a race in three years, it gets a little tough. You want that feeling of winning. Once you win more there is more of a balance of being on top of the team. Sometimes it’s easy to get drug down with not winning. I believe if I stick on this path and keep giving it all I have and keep my head right good things come from that. Consistency is super important. Even during this time, not giving up on the workouts I do every day and keeping in contact with the team and keep preparing as if there was another race. That’s hard because we don’t actually know the next race with all this mess going on. But with all of the technology we have around us, staying on top of things is super important.
Part of learning and growing is going through the good and bad without losing sight of the main goal. Thank you to the entire @KKM_67 team for all their hard work and dedication toward our dreams. Ready to chase after my first national midget win w/ @KeithKunz this year! pic.twitter.com/xk0zyvdMhO
– Holley Hollan (@Holley_Hollan) January 19, 2020
CK: Do you have any pre-race rituals you absolutely have to do before you’re able to get in the racecar and go race?
HH: I hate to say it this way but I am very superstitious. I don’t truly believe if I put my right glove on before my left glove I will win the race, but racing is such a mind game if I get in my routine and do the things that I do, it’s one less thing I am worried about. If I do put my left glove on instead of my right my mind is on that instead of what I need to do. I grew up very superstitious. I would have to wear the same shirt every race day or something like that. I was always superstitious about what I was doing, but I have gotten a lot better. We would be racing different places and there wouldn’t be any food I could eat. I literally drove my parents up the wall being so weird about what I ate, what I wore, what I did. It wore me out. I am glad to get that out of the way when I was younger. But I do put my right glove on before my left glove. I put most of my stuff on before I get in the car. There are a few things like that I do. Leading up to going to the track I don’t do any of the same things.
CK: I have one more question and then we will ask you one that Taylor Gray was going to ask to Gio (Scelzi), but it will apply to you. We haven’t been able to talk to Gio yet, so hopefully we will talk to him next. And then we will have you give me a question for Lawless Alan and I have a suggestion on that question but we’ll get to that in a minute. Last question I have for you is, it’s two laps to go, say we are at Irwindale. You’re in second place coming down to the white flag and you are right on the bumper of your teammate Gracie Trotter. What is the outcome of that final lap?
HH: I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t rough anyone up too much, especially a teammate. If I could move her obviously I would. Racing is racing. I would try to move her to win. There were a few last year that were a little questionable. I don’t know if I would go to that extent. I do race with respect because it could easily go the other way. I would do anything I could to win. It seems like the high line comes in at Irwindale, maybe I could make something work and dive bomb her and pull off a dirt car slide job or something. I wouldn’t dirty anyone up too bad. I haven’t been in that position yet in the stock car. Hopefully I know how to handle it when I get there.
CK: The question Taylor Gray had for Gio, and it does transition to you because you are making the same leap Gio is, how is the transition between dirt racing into pavement racing? What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
HH: It’s going good. I didn’t do any of the late model stuff before this so jumping into the ARCA series has been a big transition. Luckily I am with a good team and that helps. The long races are definitely different. I have been training pretty hard for the last two years. Physically I am doing pretty good with the long races. Mentally staying in it for 200 laps is way different than anything I am used to. Stuff like your adrenaline is up. You run 25 laps and that’s it. You go hard in the beginning, you go hard at the end, you go hard in the middle. It doesn’t really matter you go hard every lap. You don’t save tires. All of that is a little different. I have run four pavement races. Everything seems to be a little overwhelming right now. Everything seems to be different. I definitely think some of the tests I went to helped for me. I do think when I go back to dirt racing I will gain a little speed there. Racing is racing. Being on the track is important any way. Realizing what you are doing is going to help you overall with what you are doing is important.
CK: What would you want to ask Lawless Alan?
HH: I don’t know him very well …
CK: I would have to ask him where the name came from! That absolutely has to be the coolest name in racing. There has to be a story behind it.
HH: Yeah, let’s ask him where the name Lawless came from. Is it a family name?
CK: Absolutely. That is a race car driver name right there!
HH: Yeah, it’s close to Lightning McQueen.