BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 18, 2017) – Bret Holmes breathed a deep sigh of relief as he got out of the No. 23 Southern States Bank Chevy at Michigan International Speedway Friday evening. Although he was drained both mentally and physically, there was a clean and honest smile on his face that said it all.
The Munford, Ala. driver finally didn’t have to rally from behind. He didn’t spin; he didn’t speed on pit road…he ran his race, and ran it all the way to a fourth-place finish in the 36th running of the Corrigan Oil 200, his first attempt on the famous superspeedway in the Irish Hills. He also earned the SCOTT Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
It wasn't a win, but it did tie his best finish of the year, a clear-cut demonstration of the success that's been a rare commodity for Bret Holmes Racing this season.
“It feels good to finally get a race put together like we did here today,” said Holmes. “I think we made some significant strides this week with our intermediate program and if we can continue to have more races like this, we'll be a strong contender this season.”
After qualifying 10th, Holmes maintained his position for most of the race with slight variations in both directions until he started his march toward the front with 20 laps to go. Calm, calculated and precise, he carved his way through the top-10 until passing his final car on the exit of turn four coming to the checkered flag.
“These are the kind of races we work so hard week in and week out for,” Holmes said. “This race was a good confidence booster going into the next few events, and I think as I and the team get more comfortable, we can really do some damage in this series.”
Although Holmes was happy with his results at Michigan, he still felt like he had a little more to give.
“This was my first race here, and I think we had a top-3 car, but I know I needed just a little more experience to make that happen. I’m going to a bunch of tracks that I have never been on before, so gaining experience anywhere and everywhere is really a top priority for me right now.”
Holmes also finished fourth at Elko Speedway a couple weeks ago. His career-best finish is third at Salem Speedway last year.
Now, with momentum starting to favor the Auburn University student, Holmes and the 23 crew are eager to see how far they can take this good fortune to get in better positioning to make a run for the series championship. He's unofficially tied for fifth, with 12 more events still left on the 2017 calendar.
“I really want to break that top-3 barrier now,” Holmes said. “My best career finish was third at Salem last season, and I want to jump that hurdle now as we approach some short tracks in the next few weeks.
“We're going to focus now on improving our position in the points and get back in this thing. We'll make some noise this season, and Michigan was just the start of it.”
Holmes's next opportunity to improve his positioning will be at Madison International Speedway June 23 in the Montgomery Ward 200. The race will be televised Live on MAVTV at 9 p.m. Eastern.
For more on Bret Holmes, please visit his new website at www.bretholmes.com or “like” him on Facebook (@bretholmesracing). Follow him on Twitter (@bretholmes_2).
About Bret Holmes Racing: Bret Holmes Racing is an Alabama-based ARCA racing team that operates out of Munford, AL and Statesville, N.C. while still holding true to its traditional southern roots. Founded by Stacy Holmes of Holmes II Excavation in Munford, we stick to our good nature and solid values to put the best product on and off the track with our driver Bret Holmes.