Bret Holmes' Strong Season Nets Him the S&S Volvo Laps Completed Award

Bret Holmes' Strong Season Nets Him the S&S Volvo Laps Completed Award

The 2019 ARCA Menards Series season was by far the best campaign of Bret Holmes’ (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) four-year ARCA career. Holmes placed third in the overall championship standings and it’s only fitting that he gets to take home a pair of ARCA’s yearlong special awards as well.

Holmes already locked up the CGS Imaging Four Crown award following the running of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem in September. A longshot entering the short track portion of the Four Crown schedule, Holmes was the main benefactor of Michael Self’s (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) bad luck at Salem. When Self went behind the wall for an extended period of time so the team could make repairs to his car’s suspension, Holmes inherited the lead in the Four Crown standings. By hanging onto the fourth position when the checkers fell, Holmes squeaked out the Four Crown victory by a scant 15 points over Self. Holmes recorded finishes of 14th at Talladega, 3rd at Michigan, 3rd at Springfield and 4th at Salem in the four events that counted towards the Four Crown title race.

The CGS Imaging Four Crown is not the only award that Holmes will be able to claim at the series awards banquet in December. Holmes finished first in the S&S Volvo Laps Completed award standings as the participating driver who completed the most laps in the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season. Holmes ran 2644 of the 2653 laps contested this season and was running at the finish of all 20 races. Holmes completed all but nine laps during the season and ended the year with a lap completion percentage of 99.7%.

It was a welcome change of pace for Holmes in 2019, coming off a season where he only raced 14 times in 2018. Bret and his father Stacy made the decision to take a hiatus from running the family-owned No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing car last summer after running ten races with three DNFs compared to just one top five finish. The No. 23 team refocused their efforts towards preparing for the 2019 season by making some changes to the organization, hiring crew chief Shane Huffman away from MDM Motorsports as well as acquiring a Toyota from MDM’s stable.

The 2019 season got off to a shaky start when Holmes was involved in a late crash at the season opener at Daytona. Holmes was able to limp the car home in 18th place, one lap behind the leaders. Holmes also finished a lap down in the rain-shortened spring race at Salem, finishing in the tenth position, before heading to Talladega for the Alabama driver’s homecoming race. Holmes managed to stay out of trouble all day but finished 14th, a disappointing result at a track right in the Holmes family’s backyard.

Holmes’ luck would turn for the better from there, though, as Holmes ended the season with 16 consecutive top ten finishes, the longest streak all year in the series. Even when he inevitably ran into trouble, Holmes salvaged solid finishes by virtue of simply staying on the track and clicking off laps. One of the rough patches in Holmes’ season came at Gateway when Holmes was involved in a pair of cautions. The BHR team was able to repair the wounded Toyota and Holmes soldiered towards a tenth-place finish, five laps down. Over the final eight races of the year, Holmes would complete all but one lap and cruised to the S&S Volvo Laps Completed award victory.

The closest competition to Holmes came from Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Ford), who completed 2556 laps, 88 less than Holmes did. Braden entered the 2019 season as perhaps the favorite to lead the S&S Volvo Laps Competed standings, having been atop the standings for most of the 2018 season. An accident not of Braden’s doing in the 2018 finale at Kansas prevented him from taking last year’s award, however, and overall series champion Sheldon Creed (No. 28 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet) added that trophy to his sizable 2018 awards haul. Braden kept his car out of trouble for much of 2019, but an accident at Toledo led to his only DNF of the year and relegated Braden to second in the standings.

Joe Graf Jr. (No. 77 Eat Sleep Race Ford) finished third in the Laps Completed standings, with 2501 laps to his credit in 2019. Graf had just one DNF in 2019 and like Braden, it came as a result of a crash at Toledo. A pair of young part-time drivers rounded out the S&S Volvo Laps Completed standings, with Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) running 1984 laps and Carson Hocevar (No. 28 GMPartsNow.com Chevrolet) running 1754 laps.

The S&S Volvo Laps Completed award, along with the rest of the season’s hardware, will be presented during the 2019 ARCA Menards Series awards banquet on Saturday, December 14. The year-end banquet will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of the Performance Racing Industry trade show weekend. Tickets go on sale on Monday, October 28 and will be available to the general public for purchase.

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