Rookie Holmes fastest in final practice at Daytona...gets big assist from MMM cars

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2017) - Munford, Alabama rookie Bret Holmes took advantage of three very fast Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolets in the draft to top the speed charts in final practice Friday morning at Daytona Int'l Speedway.

Holmes, in his own No. 23 Southern States Bank-Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet, turned the fastest lap yet in Daytona Speedweeks 2017 with a top speed of 190.114 mph. Holmes went faster than the pair of Venturini Motorsports Toyotas that topped the board in Thursday's practice.

"We didn't really change anything from yesterday to today," said Holmes.

"We had Kaz (Grala) behind us and we sucked up to that group 20 lengths in front of us, and that's what did's all about the timing there. We worked really good with Kaz...we push each other really well. The car's driving really smooth...we can go anywhere with it."

Holmes had a trio of Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolets behind him on the leader board with Quin Houff, Grala and Kyle Weatherman coming in second through fourth.

Both Houff and Grala are rookies and will be making their career-first starts in Saturday's race.

"Really happy with it," said Houff, who was second fastest at 189.881 mph. "We led a lot yesterday (in practice). The car's sucking up really good and handles really well in dirty air. This three-car team at Mason Mitchell Motorsports works really well together."

Grala, in the same draft, was third fastest in final practice at 189.577 mph.

"I'm pumped," said Grala. "This thing is really, really good, no matter what I want to do with it. It doesn't matter if I'm by myself or with other cars's good everywhere."

Kyle Weatherman, also in a Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevy, was fourth on the board at 188.988 mph.

Dalton Sargeant was fifth overall in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Ford with a speed of 188.557 mph. Sargeant was also fifth fastest in Thursday's practice.

Conspicuously absent in final practice were the Venturini Motorsports Toyotas of Noah Gragson and Tom Hessert which were first and second in practice Thursday.

General Tire ARCA Pole Award Qualifying is next at Daytona at 3:30 p.m. will feature the group qualifying sessions in live timing and scoring and live chat.

The 54th running of the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire is live on FS1 Saturday afternoon, with coverage beginning at 4 p.m. Live timing and scoring and live chat for you as well at


Don Radebaugh