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CHAMPION: Bret Holmes clinches ARCA Series season title with second-place run in Kansas

Bret Holmes

Bret Holmes, 23, is a Munford native and Donoho School graduate.

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Donoho School graduate Bret Holmes clinched the ARCA Series championship by finishing second in the Speediatrics 150 on Friday.

Holmes, who is in his fifth ARCA season, entered the race only eight points ahead of Michael Self in the standings. Self finished fifth, which wasn't high enough to catch Holmes.

Holmes wound up with 953 Series points, while Self was 12 points behind at 941. Hailie Deegan, who finished in sixth place in Friday's race, was third in the season points standings (887) and was the ARCA Series Rookie of the Year.

“This is something we’ve been working towards for a few years now,” Holmes was quoted as saying in a news release. “The way we did was different with starting our own team. To have it finally pay off is a really good feeling.”

Holmes, 23, is a Munford native and an Auburn University student. He is set to graduate in December with a degree in building science following the completion of his senior thesis.

His ARCA championship is a nice graduation present — something he wasn't always certain he could achieve.

“I knew in the back of my head I had the potential to do it,” Holmes said. “Those couple of years, especially in 2018, it got tough and I thought about quitting at some point. That’s a really tough thing to admit about a sport you love.

"If it wasn’t for my friends and family who kept pushing me this wouldn’t have been possible. They gave me the confidence that I had lost. Knowing you can come into each race with a chance to win makes it that much better.”

The clinching race came on the same track in which he got his first ARCA win — and his only one of 2020. He won the Dawn 150 when the ARCA Series visited Kansas in July.

Holmes, driving the No. 23 Golden Eagle Syrup Chevrolet, started second in Friday night’s race with the field set by owner points. He led the first 18 laps as Self battled early fuel pressure.

Rookie Corey Heim claimed his first career victory in dominating fashion, leading the remaining 82 laps of the 100-lap race.

"It’s been a tough road, for sure," Holmes said. "Everything we’ve done has just been phenomenal this season, every decision we’ve made. To come out and not even know we were going to run the full season, and to finish it off like this is really special.

"To move to the next level, if it’s going to take me scratching and starving, that’s what I’m going to do. Because I know we deserve to be here.”