KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Bret Holmes and Corey Heim each had reason to celebrate Friday evening at Kansas Speedway.
Heim dominated the ARCA Menards Series Speediatrics 150, leading more than half the race to earn his first series victory. Holmes, meanwhile, finished second to claim his first ARCA Menards Series championship.
Holmes put the finishing touches on the ARCA Menards Series championship with his runner-up result on Friday evening. He led the first 18 laps after starting second, taking the lead from polesitter Ty Gibbs on the opening circuit.
He led until lap 19, when Heim drove by him to take the race lead. Holmes ran in second the rest of the race and was never challenged by his championship rival Michael Self, who struggled with fuel pressure issues early in the race and eventually finished fifth.
“This is something we’ve been working towards for a few years now,” Holmes said. “The way we did it was different than a lot of people by starting our own team. It made for a lot of tough days. For it to finally pay off, for our dues to pay off, is a really good feeling.”
Holmes started the season not planning to run the full schedule, but when COVID-19 shut the racing world down his plans changed. The end result was one victory, 14 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in 20 starts. He bested Self by 12 points to claim the series championship.
Following a difficult 2018 season Holmes nearly gave up racing in the ARCA Menards Series. Now he’s the 38th different driver to earn the ARCA Menards Series championship.
“I think I knew in the back of my head I had the potential to do it. Those couple years there, especially in 2018 there it got so rough. I thought about quitting at some point. That’s a really tough to admit and say to a sport you love, but it’s the truth.
“If it weren’t for my friends and family to keep pushing me and this team…if it weren’t for them, they gave me that confidence back that I lost for a few years.”
Self finished second in the ARCA standings for the second-straight season and hinted after the race that this may be his final season in the ARCA Menards Series.
“I’m not going to say a tremendous amount. There is one opportunity that is really, really attractive to me that is going to include some driving,” Self said. “I’ll be finishing school here, getting my degree in business administration. The last couple of years working with Sinclair as a sponsor, there is an opportunity that may arise that gives me a management position to put my degree to use and kind rise up in the business world, which is something I’ve had a lot of aspirations to do.
“There is something in the works that I’m really, really excited about.”
Heim, meanwhile, got to celebrate his first ARCA Menards Series victory after a dominant performance in the No. 10 Toyota fielded by Venturini Motorsports. After taking the lead from Holmes, he led the rest of the way and was only briefly challenged by Holmes during a pair of restarts following competition cautions.
The victory for Heim, which came in his 16th start, was Toyota’s 100th in ARCA competition.
“I knew right from the first five laps we had a really good race car,” said the 18-year-old Heim. “My Craftsman Toyota was rolling. I got right to the front there within 20 laps and just from there we were trying to go under pace control and ended up just putting it to them.”
New Hampshire driver Derek Griffith earned his best ARCA Menards Series finish with a third-place result, followed by Dylan Lupton in fourth and Self in fifth.
The only on-track incident during the race came on the final lap, when Hailie Deegan and Drew Dollar collided while battling for a position inside the top-five. Deegan finished sixth, with Dollar scored eighth at the checkered flag.
Corey Heim, Bret Holmes, Derek Griffith, Dylan Lupton, Michael Self, Hailie Deegan, Kris Wright, Drew Dollar, Scott Melton, Eric Caudell, Tim Richmond, Mike Basham, Chandler Smith, Ty Gibbs, Brad Smith, Owen Smith, Con Nicolopoulos, Alex Clubb.