Eric Holmes had done it the hard way. This time, he did it the easy way.
A year after overcoming a flat tire and fighting his way through the field at Douglas County Speedway to get the victory, the defending NASCAR Camping World Series West champion stayed out front all night and led all 150 laps en route to winning the Toyota/Bi-Mart 150 presented by NAPA.
It was the fourth straight victory at the .375-mile oval for Holmes’ car owner Bill McAnally. Bill McAnally Racing has had four different drivers win six of the eight races since the series returned to Roseburg in 2002.
“There’s always a lot of pressure when you come here,” Holmes said, “but I love the pressure and winning in front of these great Oregon fans. … It makes the whole team get up and try harder, and it’s just great to bring the NAPA Toyota Camry home in Victory Lane tonight.”
Holmes’ third win of the season increased his series points lead to 36 points over Jason Bowles, who finished second. David Mayhew was third. Mike David rallied from a pit stop that put him a lap down to finish fourth. Moses Smith rounded out the top five.
Brett Thompson, Blake Koch, Greg Pursley, Jim Warn and Jamie Dick completed the top 10. Holmes led 105 laps in winning the 2008 race at Roseburg, but a cut tire midway through the race meant he had to come from the back. He passed Bowles with eight laps to go to grab the win. This year, Bowles was able to move by Mayhew late in the race and closed on Holmes’ bumper a couple times, but was never able to seriously challenge for the lead.
“I thought we maybe had something for (Holmes), but after about 10 or 12 laps, his car got a little better than mine and I wasn’t able to hang with him,” Bowles said. “We were a little too free off the corner.”
The winning margin for Holmes was 1.644 seconds. The race was slowed six times for 29 laps.
“Last year the car was so dominant and I could do anything I wanted; this year, I had to be really patient,” Holmes said. “After a few quick cautions, I don’t know if I started overdriving the car, but the car started going away. I just got my composure back, and the NAPA Toyota Camry was fast at the end when it counted.”
Earlier in the day, Holmes won his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season. Saturday was Holmes’ ninth career win and 11th career pole.
Before Holmes Saturday, the most recent NASCAR Camping World Series driver to lead every lap was Bowles at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Aug. 16, 2008.
Holmes leads Bowles in the points standings, 1025-989. Mayhew is third at 961, followed by David at 942 and Pursley at 914.
The NASCAR Camping World Series West will race next at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on June 20 as part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at the road course.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD SERIES WEST-TOYOTA/BI-MART 150 Unofficial Results
At Douglas County Speedway
Lap length: 0.375 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (1) Eric Holmes, Escalon, Calif., Toyota, 150 laps, 59.911 mph, $10,186.
2. (6) Jason Bowles, Ontario, Calif., Ford, 150, $4,236.
3. (2) David Mayhew, Atascadero, Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $3,536.
4. (5) Mike David, Modesto, Calif., Toyota, 150, $3,336.
5. (4) Moses Smith, Tempe, Ariz., Toyota, 150, $3,286.
6. (10) Brett Thompson, Jerome, Idaho, Chevrolet, 150, $3,036.
7. (7) Blake Koch, West Palm Beach, Fla., Chevrolet, 150, $3,111.
8. (9) Greg Pursley, Newhall, Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $2,736.
9. (12) Jim Warn, Aurora, Ore, Chevrolet, 150, $2,636.
10. (15) Jamie Dick, Albuquerque, N.M., Ford, 150, $4,091.
11. (11) Phil Dugan, Meridian, Idaho, Chevrolet, 148, $2,286.
12. (13) Paul Pedroncelli, Jr., Sonoma, Calif., Chevrolet, 147, $1,640.
13. (8) Paulie Harraka, Fairlawn, N.J., Toyota, 142, $2,066.
14. (14) Johnathan Hale, Rio Linda, Calif., Chevrolet, 124, suspension, $1,986.
15. (3) Travis Bennett, Ellensburg, Wash., Chevrolet, 44, accident, $1,425.
16. (16) Jack Sellers, Sacramento, Calif., Chevrolet, 3, rear end, $1,936.
17. (17) Greg Rayl, Roseville, Calif., Ford, 1, motor, $1,375.
Time of Race: 0 hours 56 minutes 20 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.644 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: E.Holmes (88.583 mph, 15.24 seconds)
Caution Flags: 6 for 29 laps.
Lead Changes: 0 among 1 drivers.
Lap Leaders: E. Holmes 1-150.
Standings: 1. E. Holmes, 1025; 2. J. Bowles, 989; 3. D. Mayhew, 961; 4. M. David, 942; 5. G. Pursley, 914; 6. P. Harraka, 878; 7. B. Thompson, 876; 8. M. Smith, 866; 9. B. Koch, 839; 10. J. Warn, 772.