Updated: Nov 5, 2020
(Associated Press) KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Bret Holmes clinch the ARCA Menard Series with the last race of the 2020 series. The 23-year-old from Munford, Alabama, won the series championship by nine points over very talented Michael Self. " I mean, the two things I've ever wanted was for my friends and family to be proud of me through racing and my team to have the same respect as others,'' said Holmes, who owns his own team. "And I think we earned that today."
(Auburn University /Neil Reid) Just three days after zooming to the ARCA Menards Series championship, Auburn senior building science major Bret Holmes was on Zoom resuming a full slate of classes on the Plains. The 23-year-old Munford, Alabama, native went back to work on his senior thesis project in the McWhorter School of Building Science in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, or CADC, on Monday morning, less than 72 hours removed from claiming the season points title in the developmental NASCAR series. He had a new centerpiece for his Auburn apartment to keep him company—a shiny silver championship trophy.
The addition of crew chief Shane Huffman last year was a game-changer, and Holmes responded by notching eight top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes to finish third in the points standings. Last season proved not only that Holmes belonged with the “big boys,” but also served notice he could compete for a season points championship. Still, he entered 2020 not expecting to run a full schedule, especially since he was juggling classes at Auburn. Then the pandemic struck, forcing NASCAR to halt operations from early March to the third week of June. Holmes and his team streamlined operations during the break, and he stayed committed to his dual goals of racing at a high level and finishing his degree.
“When we came back from the pandemic break, that was really when we were better than we’d ever been,” Holmes said. “We thought, ‘We might have a shot at this.’ That’s when we decided going for it would be the best option for us, and it turned out great.”
It was a long, arduous summer, but he embraced the grind and emerged victorious after an intense final month to the season. Now, he’s poised to complete his 100-page senior thesis—an elaborate construction project for which he has to plan every aspect and complete with varying types of analyses—and put an exclamation point on 2020 with a stroll across the graduation stage at Jordan-Hare Stadium this December. “This has been one of the best years of my life, really,” Holmes said. “Everything is just coming together.”
So you ask, what's next for Bret Holmes Racing, “My dream one day is to make it into the top three series of NASCAR,” he said. “We’re juggling options and trying to decide what’s best for our team in the future. A lot of it is dependent on sponsorship, and I’d love to say I’ll get to move to the next level, but the truth is, I don’t know. “I’d like to do it with my own team, and I think we’ve proven our right to do that.”
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