"First Victory Of 2012 For Former Champ; 50th For Team "
After finishing in the top 10 in his three previous starts at the historic .646-mile oval, Holmes was able to pass Michael Self for the lead on Lap 131 and remained out front the rest of the way to win the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Gene Price Motorsports on Saturday for his first win of the season and 17th overall in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competition.
“This is a great win. We’ve been running pretty good, but we’ve had some really bad luck this season,” Holmes said. “Maybe this can get it turned around.”
The win for the driver of the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota out of Escalon, Calif., was especially sweet after a disappointing finish in his last start at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway at which he experienced engine problems while leading the race. He was forced to settle for a 23rd-place finish. Additionally, the win was the 50th for Bill McAnally Racing comprised of 49 championship events and one special non-points event.
“I didn’t know about the 50-win thing until about a month ago and I wanted to be the one to get it. But with the bad luck we had been having I wasn’t sure we need the extra pressure,” he said. “I’m really happy for the whole team now that we got it. Now it’s time to move on and get some more wins down the stretch.”
For Self, the runner-up finish illustrates his progression in stock-car racing having cut his teeth on karting and open-wheel racing.
“I’m really happy with our performance tonight. Our oval program is really coming along,” said the 21-year-old out of Park City, Utah. “To come into a track like this and finish second is great. Eric’s car was just too strong for us tonight, but we’ll keep at it.”
Derek Thorn, who started from the rear of the field due to a move to a back-up car, finished third. The car change was necessitated by a hard crash into the Turn 1 wall during practice earlier in the day. Jonathon Gomez and David Mayhew finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Holmes qualified third and remained near the front of the pack throughout the first half of the race before making his move and taking the lead from Self on Lap 131.
“I knew we had a good car in practice. I didn’t think it would be that dominant, Holmes stated. “I hustled on that restart and was able to get around (Self). It was a great race.”
The win also gave Holmes a locked-in spot to the UNOH Battle At The Beach on the .4-mile oval at Daytona International Speedway next February during Speedweeks.
In the championship point standings, Kwasniewski remains in the top spot with a six-point advantage over teammate Pursley. Mayhew holds down the third position followed by Thorn.
The NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Gene Price Motorsports will air on SPEED on July 26 at 3 p.m. ET.
The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is the NAPA/Toyota 150 at Colorado National Speedway">Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colo., on July 28.