HOLMES DOMINANT AT ROSEBURG; TAKES FOURTH WIN, FOURTH COORS LIGHT POLE ROSEBURG, Ore. (July 11, 2008) -- There were fireworks in the air and fireworks on the track at Douglas County Speedway on Friday night as Eric Holmes...
HOLMES DOMINANT AT ROSEBURG; TAKES FOURTH WIN, FOURTH COORS LIGHT POLE
ROSEBURG, Ore. (July 11, 2008) -- There were fireworks in the air and fireworks on the track at Douglas County Speedway on Friday night as Eric Holmes rebounded from a flat tire to battle past Jason Bowles with seven laps left to take the victory in the Toyota/Bi-Mart Firecracker 150.
Although Holmes had the dominant car, he had to make a late charge through the field to secure the win -- his fourth of the season in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
Holmes was strong throughout the event -- setting a track record of 90.168 mph in qualifying, while netting his fourth Coors Light Pole Award of the season. He led the first 98 laps, but his run at the point came to a halt when he suddenly slowed with a flat right front on his Toyota.
Holmes managed to stay on the lead lap, however, dashing to the pits as the caution flew. The 2006 champion quickly returned to the track and began a blistering charge through the field on the restart. He was up to second in the late stages of the event and began nipping at the back bumper of Bowles, who was attempting to score his third consecutive win. Sparks flew as Holmes charged to the inside going into Turn 1 on lap 143. As Bowles slid through Turn 2, Holmes pulled away.
"I leaned on everybody a little bit and they gave me plenty of room," Holmes said of his late-race charge to the front. "They knew I was faster. Jason Bowles did an awesome job protecting his line. He did everything he could. He was making it really tough on me. I got my nose under him two times. I had to go for it. Once I committed, I had to go. That's good hard racing on a good old short track."
Bowles had a different perspective on the incident, however. "I knew Eric had a good car and I knew he was coming," Bowles said. "But there was no way he was getting by me without moving me. When he tried to turn me down the straight away, there was not much I could do."
Holmes pulled away to win by a margin of .427 seconds, netting $9,050 in prize money and posted awards. It marked the sixth career win and ninth career pole for the 33-year-old driver from Escalon, Calif. He became the fourth different driver to pilot the NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored entry to victory at Douglas County Speedway in seven events.
"We had a perfect car," Holmes said. "I couldn't ask for any more. (Crew chief) Ty (Joiner) did a great job setting the car up and the whole team did a good job today."
An effort to be courteous may have been to blame for losing the early lead, according to Holmes. "I let a lapped car go by me and got up in the high groove and must have cut a tire down," he said. "I was a nice guy then. But at the end of the race I had to do what I had to do."
"I was a little worried coming back through the field," Holmes said. "It's just really hard to pass here. I went through them pretty quick, then I got to Jason. I was feeling the pressure of getting by him. He had won two in a row."
Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif., also got by Bowles to take second in his No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford -- matching his runner-up finish of a year ago at Roseburg. Bowles of Ontario, Calif., was third in the No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford. Fourth went to David Mayhew of Atascadero, Calif., in the BayBioDiesel/RCR Chevrolet -- while rookie Jeff Barkshire of Auburn, Wash., was fifth in the Centennial Batteries/SPE Dodge. Rounding out the top 10 were Jim Inglebright, Moses Smith, Jim Warn, Jonathan Gomez and Jack Sellers.
The race featured three lead changes among three drivers -- Holmes, Bowles and Smith. The average speed of the race was 62.616 mph.
With his victory, Holmes extended his lead in the championship standings to 71 markers with 1,331 points, while Bowles moved to second with 1,260 points. Defending champion Mike David slipped to third in the standings with 1,211 points, falling out of the Roseburg race early with overheating trouble. Barkshire retained the fourth spot in points with 1,182, followed by Inglebright of Fairfield, Calif., with 1,169 points. Completing the top 10 are Austin Cameron at 1,133, Smith at 1,084, Mike Gallegos at 1,053, Borneman at 1,028 and Mayhew at 999.
Barkshire remains the leading candidate in the challenge for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, coming home as the top finishing rookie for the sixth time in eight races this season. He leads with 75 points, followed by Warn with 67, Jason Patison with 63 and Jamie Dick with 62. They are trailed by Wes Banks at 32, Lloyd Mack at 22 and Ryan Philpott at 15.
The next event on the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Series West is at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on July 26.