By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There’s nothing quite like a first-time winner.
And Friday night’s ARCA Menards Series race at Kansas Speedway provided another one of those moments.
23-year-old Bret Holmes dominated the Dawn 150, leading 82 of the 100 laps. In fact, the only other driver to lead any laps was pole-sitter Riley Herbst.
“I’ve been working my whole life for this,” said Holmes. “My team did this for me. It’s been a long, tough road. I can’t thank my friends and my family enough. They believed in me when I didn’t. It was well worth the wait. I’m so happy. It’s awesome.”
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Entering Friday’s race, Holmes had 68 starts in ARCA with varying degrees of success. However, 2020 has very quickly begun to take shape as Holmes’ best career season.
Holmes has already earned five top-five finishes in eight races in 2020, and has finished no worse than 15th. Having already led 107 laps this year, he will far exceed his total number of laps led combined in all of his previous ARCA seasons.
Holmes now finds himself second in points, only nine points behind points leader Michael Self with 12 races left on the schedule.
Holmes did acknowledge post-race that the current COVID-19 pandemic may affect his race team’s ability to continue competing this season.
“I can’t assure that we can still run all the races,” said Holmes. “I’d love to say 100% right now but it’s a tough time with the pandemic. Created a lot of tough issues at work and it is what it is. We work to fund our own deal. … Competing against these big teams, we’re definitely the underdog here and it’s definitely hard not to run all of them for sure being this close and being second in points. It’s what we’ve been trying to do for a couple years but we were committed to it this season. I’d love to be able to do it and win it.”
Finishing second behind Holmes was Ryan Repko, almost a full 10 seconds behind the leader.
Herbst, meanwhile, was able to secure a third-place effort.
Driver of the No. 12 Toyota, Corey Heim, was in second place coming to the white flag, but tagged the wall and allowed Repko and Herbst to get by. He held on for fourth.
Tanner Gray overcame an early penalty to round out the top five in fifth.