By: Mitchell Breuer

The ARCA Menards Series has been all about drivers in the Toyotas this season, with the manufacture winning all of the races heading into Friday’s event at Kansas Speedway, and having one of their own in Michael Self leading in the points. However, a competitor outside of the camp has been able to climb into the championship picture.

Bret Holmes, who had only finished outside the top-10 once this season, entered Kansas on the heels of back-to-back top-three finishes. In Friday’s Dawn 150, he made an even bigger statement by dominating the 100-lap race and capturing his first win in the series by a margin over 14 seconds.

Now, one would think this solidifies himself as somebody who could reasonably win the championship at the end of the season and break the Toyota stranglehold. There is one problem though, he cannot commit to running all of the remaining races.

“I can’t assure that we are going to run all of the races,” Holmes said in a post-race Zoom press conference. “I would love to say 100% right now but, it is a tough time. The pandemic created a lot of tough issues and work, it is what it is, we work to fund our own deal.”

Holmes, who runs for his own team, unlike the Venturni Motorsports and DGR-Crosley Racing’s, does not receive any manufacture support, nor does he have any big corporate sponsors that would be able to help the finances.So even with the win, there are still no guarantees.

“I know it is weird looking at a car winning and not having any sponsor on the side of it, and everybody behind you has something on it or somebody is helping them,” Holmes said.“It’s definitely a frustrating feeling and mentally it is kind of frustrating, knowing we are good enough to outrun those guys.”

While it is a tough situation for the driver of the No. 23, he knows that winning is creating exposure on a national scale for him, and has the potential of providing something bigger and better for his team.

“I hope this helps; I think it will,” he said.“I know a lot of people are going through a tough time, I know it will be difficult but, all we can do is focus on winning races every time and everything else will work itself out.”

While the future is unknown, the present time is looking well for Holmes, who was able to chop Self’s points lead from 19 to nine on Friday.

Next weekend, the series heads to Toledo Speedway for a pair of races which he confirmed intent to compete while still trying to secure funding, hoping to build off a third-place finish earlier this season at the track in the East series.