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Sunday, November 27, 2022
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Despite Crossing Line First, Bret Holmes Takes Home Career-Best Result at Talladega

Bret Holmes may have crossed the start-finish first, but he wasn’t awarded the victory, as the caution was thrown just seconds before the conclusion of the event, with NASCAR awarding the victory to Matt DiBenedetto. However, it was still a career-high day for Holmes, who was awarded third. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Talladega Superspeedway provided a controversial finish, which saw a number of drivers crashing coming to the start-finish line, and nearly handed Munford, Alabama-native Bret Holmes his first victory.

In fact, it was Holmes, driving the No. 32 Golden Eagle Syrup Chevrolet Silverado that crossed the start-finish line in the lead on the final lap, but didn’t end up in victory lane.

Holmes, the 2020 ARCA Menards Series champion, found himself in contention for the victory throughout the race’s final stage, after utilizing an alternate strategy to gain track position. Then, pulling to the lead inside the final five laps, the owner-driver was in prime position to strike on an Overtime restart.

“It’s tough to lose something that close,” Holmes told FS1. “We lost an ARCA race that close, I don’t know, probably lost it closer today. Just, I want to win here so bad, I can’t stand it. I have so many people here from my hometown, friends, and family. Growing up and racing at the dirt track across the road, it just would mean the world for me to win here.”

“It seems like the last couple years in ARCA we’ve been right there, the Truck races we’ve been right there. It’s just super tough, hate we couldn’t pull it off for everybody. Wish the race ended at the finish line because I feel like we would’ve had it.”

Exiting turn four on the final lap, Holmes was tucked behind the No. 99 Kubota Toyota Tundra TRD Pro of Ben Rhodes on the inside lane. Approaching the start-finish line, Holmes jumped to the outside looking for the lead.

Matt DiBenedetto, the race’s eventual winner, elected to stay behind Rhodes until later on, before ducking to the inside and getting track position on the defending series champion. As the two drivers made contact on the inside lane, Holmes got to the start-finish line first.

However, before Holmes got to the start-finish line, the caution flag was displayed, as a number of multi-truck incidents broke out in the final seconds of the 250-mile contest. With a further review by NASCAR, it was determined that DiBenedetto was leading when the caution was thrown, with Ben Rhodes in second, and Bret Holmes in third.

Saturday’s event at Talladega marked the 14th career start for Holmes in the NASCAR Truck Series. Having competing part-time over the last two years, this season has started to click for the family-owned team, scoring a top-five this weekend, which also serves as the driver’s second top-10.

“I want to thank Golden Eagle Syrup and my team for the speed today and for giving us a fast truck,” Holmes continued. “It seemed like every line, we were advancing forward, we pushed really well. I don’t know, we just struggled to pull it off there.”

Just two years ago, the 25-year-old driver picked up the ARCA Menards Series championship with his family-owned operation, which led them to take the next step to field an entry in the NASCAR Truck Series.

In seven starts this season, Holmes has improved his average finish by nine spots, showing immense progress when it comes to the NASCAR Truck Series. It’s a journey that Holmes would like to continue with a full-time campaign in 2023, sponsorship permitting.

“I want to be full-time next year, just trying to work things out and hopefully we can get more support to do that,” said Holmes. “We are definitely showing that we’re here and deserve to be here and that we can be competitive. Regardless if we are a full-time truck or not, regardless of the help or not.”

Holmes will return to the NASCAR Truck Series in the series’ next event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the Alabama-native will compete for the eighth and final time on the season.

Matt Narváez
Matt Narváez
Matthew is a NASCAR contributor apart of the TobyChristie.com team. A fan of racing since 2011, he has had passion for sports journalism since 2015 and is a current Mass Communications student at the University of South Florida.

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