HOLMES GIVES TOYOTA ITS FIRST NASCAR CAMPING WORLD SERIES WIN IN SEASON OPENER AT ROSEVILLE ROSEVILLE, Calif. (March 29, 2008) -- Eric Holmes wasted no time in delivering Toyota with its first win in the NASCAR Camping...
HOLMES GIVES TOYOTA ITS FIRST NASCAR CAMPING WORLD SERIES WIN IN SEASON OPENER AT ROSEVILLE
ROSEVILLE, Calif. (March 29, 2008) -- Eric Holmes wasted no time in delivering Toyota with its first win in the NASCAR Camping World Series, taking the victory in his first race for the manufacturer. He led wire-to-wire to capture the win before a sell-out crowd in the NASCAR Camping World Series West season opener Toyota NAPA Auto Care 150 at All American Speedway.
It gave Holmes -- who closed out 2007 with a victory in the season finale -- back-to-back wins, despite being with a different team, different sponsor and different manufacturer in 2008.
He dashed into the lead from his starting spot on the outside of the front row and never looked back.
"I knew I had to get the lead early," Holmes said. "The cars are real difficult to drive for four or five laps, especially on cold tires and low air pressure. So, I knew I had to feel it out at first. It felt good and I got by him. All the restarts were difficult. I just wanted to get racing. I knew I could drive away, if we could get racing."
The 2006 champion from Escalon, Calif., held off the competition in a two-lap dash to the finish, as a late-race caution extended the race distance for a green-white-checkered finish. He crossed the finish line in his No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota with a .478 of a second margin over second place. The win netted him $7,550 in prize money and posted awards.
Although Holmes paced the field from start to finish, his race was not without some troubles as he experienced problems with his radio communication to his pit crew. "We had a lot of radio trouble," Holmes said. "I had a lot of static for a long time. It made it stressful.
"It was annoying on my part, because I couldn't hear a lot of times," he explained. "There was frequent static. They couldn't understand me. Once I figured out I could hear them, I just needed them to talk to me, so I knew they were there. You don't have much time to look in your mirror here to know what's around you. I didn't want to spin myself out. You don't know when somebody's on you. So, it makes it tough."
David Mayhew, who shadowed Holmes throughout the event and mounted several challenges, battled back from a wild late-race scramble to take second in the No. 21 BayBioDiesel/RCR Chevrolet. The runner-up finish for the Atascadero, Calif., driver matched the career mark he set in finishing second to Holmes in last year's final race.
Defending champion Mike David of Modesto, Calif., finished third in the No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford. Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif., was fourth in the No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford -- followed by Moses Smith of Tempe, Ariz., in the No. 16 HASA Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota. Completing the top 10 were Eric Richardson, Eric Hardin, Jim Warn, Jamie Dick and Jason Patison. Jason Bowles, who won the Coors Light Pole with a lap of 85.874 mph in qualifying, finished the event in 13th after being involved in a late-race altercation.
Local favorite Eric Schmidt of Roseville nearly pulled an upset in his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Series. Schmidt, who won the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model championship at All American Speedway, battled back from an early spin to move up to second late in the race. A spin in the closing laps relegated him to a 16th-place finish, however.
The pace of the action around the tight third-mile track was slowed by 10 cautions for 80 laps.
The event marked a return to All American Speedway, where the NASCAR Camping World Series West last visited in 1982. The historic fairgrounds facility received a major renovation just over a year ago.
With his victory, Holmes became the first driver this year to secure a spot in the prestigious postseason NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
Holmes had closed out 2007 with a win for his long-time car owner and employer Allen Beebe. But with Beebe turning his focus on business ventures away from the track, it opened the door for Holmes hook up with BMR.
Following his Roseville win, Holmes was asked about being able to maintain his early momentum this season. "You set your goals high," he said. "There's a lot of luck. And a lot goes into it. Anything can happen. But you go out to win every race. If I couldn't have the opportunity to win, I wouldn't keep doing this. I'm just thankful for Bill McAnally and everybody involved for giving me the opportunity."
The next event on the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Series West is the Phoenix 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 10.