“We’ve got so much of the family here, so much more than any other race,” Barkshire said. “This is really special. There’s no where I’d rather win a race, than here in front of everybody.”
Barkshire, who has been the top finishing Sunoco Rookie in seven of nine events this year, was hopeful of having a shot at winning at his home track, “This is the one we had been looking at,” said the Auburn, Wash., driver. “We’ve been running real good this year. We knew we’d be good here. So, we were counting on this one. We had a plan we were going to win here and we made it happen.”
His confidence was boosted by the No. 46 Centennial Batteries/Rock Church/SPE Dodge that he brought to the track. “We came actually with a new car that we got over the winter,” he said. “We were hoping it would be better and it was a pretty awesome car. It was a little free at the end, but I think Eric was too.”
As Barkshire worked through lapped traffic in the late stages of the event, he had a constant view of Holmes in his rear view mirror. “He did gain some ground on us,” Barkshire said. “We were getting real loose there towards the end. I was getting a little worried. He’s a real smart race car driver. I had a feeling he was saving. He was trying, but he went away about the same as we did there toward the end. It was a real honor to finish in front of him, because he has been so dominant everywhere. He was very good here tonight too, so to beat him makes it feel that much better.”
Holmes had captured the spotlight early – winning his fifth Coors Light Pole Award of the season, while setting a new track record of 100.280 mph in the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. Although he set the initial pace, Barkshire shot by on the outside going down the backstretch on lap 16 and Holmes quickly slipped back to fifth.
“I just knew tires were going to be a factor and they were running me harder than I wanted to run,” Holmes said. “I didn’t want to go that far back. The car wasn’t quite right, but it came to me and I got back by all those guys before the break. I kind of let Jeff go. I was hoping he would run his pretty hard. I thought I saved enough, but I didn’t save enough to get him.”
Holmes, who has four wins this season and leads the championship standings, was quick to compliment the freshman driver on his win. “Jeff did a great job,” Holmes said. “I couldn’t catch him at the end. He did a great job at the end of running good lap times and not making a mistake.”
Although Holmes did gain the lead back just before the midway break, Barkshire took
command on lap 77 and remained out front to the finish. He crossed the finish line with
a margin of victory of .509 second, to collect $7,865 in prize money and posted awards.
Following Holmes of Escalon, Calif., across the line was third-place finisher Jason
Bowles of Ontario, Calif., in the No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford. Jeff Jefferson of Naches,
Wash., was fourth in the MJ2 Racing/Gran Prix Imports Chevrolet – followed by Jim
Inglebright of Fairfield, Calif., in the Jelly Belly Chevrolet. Rounding out the top 10 were
Johnny Borneman, Moses Smith, Jonathan Gomez, James Warn and Daryl Harr.
The race featured three lead changes among two drivers. The event was slowed by just
two cautions for 10 laps.
The race, part of the annual Washington 500 at Evergreen Speedway, marked the 50th
visit by the NASCAR Camping World Series West to the historic fairgrounds race track.
Barkshire, who became the fourth driver this year in the NASCAR Camping World
SeriesWest to secure a spot in the prestigious post-season NASCAR Toyota All-Star
Showdown, built on his solid lead in the chase for this year’s Sunoco Rookie of the
Year Award. He leads with 85 points, followed by Warn with 76, Jason Patison with
71 and Jamie Dick with 69. They are trailed by Wes Banks at 32, Lloyd Mack at 22
and Ryan Philpott at 15.
With his runner-up finish, meanwhile, Holmes extended his lead in the
championship standings to 81 points. He leads Bowles, 1,506 to 1,425. Barkshire is
third in points with 1,372. Defending champion Mike David is fourth with 1,341, followed
by Jim Inglebright with 1,324.
The next event on the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Series West is at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on Aug. 2.