Race Weekend Central

Bret Holmes Leads Truck Underdogs Run to the Front at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bret Holmes led just five laps as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie.

At the start of his sophomore year, he led 12 in only one race, coming oh-so-close to leading the most important lap of all.

In the end, Holmes was fourth, recovering from a mid-race spin and surviving a last-lap wreck to deliver the second-best finish of his Truck career. It’s a huge boost for this small, independent team that gained full-season sponsorship from Precision Garage Doors in the offseason.

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“It’s huge, man,” Holmes said of his run. “We got up front three times tonight, we had that strong of a truck… This is such an easy race to get in a hole, including Atlanta and Vegas, so having a top five here plus some stage points is huge.”

Holmes survived a series of issues, including a mid-race incident that collected Johnny Sauter and left the No. 45 Niece Motorsports truck out of the race. But what hurt Holmes the most was a penalty heading into overtime for hitting the imaginary choose cone on the racetrack. He chose neither the top or bottom lane, forcing NASCAR to send him to the rear on lap 98.

“I was screaming at myself,” Holmes said of that moment. “Just so mad at myself.”

But that wound up benefitting him in the long run. When a last-lap melee broke out on the backstretch, Holmes skated by with limited damage, nursing it to the finish line while most other lead-lap trucks weren’t so lucky.

He wasn’t the only one. Spencer Boyd, debuting with his Freedom Racing Enterprises team, wound up a strong fifth running former GMS Racing equipment. Boyd left Young’s Motorsports in the offseason, where he’d spent nearly his entire Truck career, and was rewarded with his first top-five finish since winning at Talladega Superspeedway back in 2019.

Sitting behind him in sixth was Stefan Parsons, posting his best-ever NASCAR Xfinity or Truck series finish in 77 career starts. Parsons, who’s been toiling in underfunded equipment, excelled in his debut running the underdog No. 75 Henderson Motorsports truck in place of Parker Kligerman.

Timmy Hill wound up eighth with his family-owned Hill Motorsports No. 56. But perhaps the best underdog story was the No. 28 of FDNY Racing, which typically runs just the Daytona season opener. It’s just the second-ever top-10 finish for the organization (ninth) with a team that highlights first responders and consists of a mostly volunteer crew.

Part-time driver Bryan Dauzat now has two top-10 finishes in just 21 career starts. And he earned his second one at 64 years old, easily the oldest driver in the Truck field.

In a race where there were more yellow flag laps (52) than green flag laps (49), the carnage provided the perfect opportunity for these underdogs to have their day.

“Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky,” Holmes said. “The old saying. So, that’s what I think we were tonight.”

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About the author

The author of Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 40+ staff members as its majority owner and Editor-in-Chief. Based outside Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild. He most recently consulted with SRX Racing, helping manage cutting-edge technology and graphics that appeared on their CBS broadcasts during 2021 and 2022.

You can find Tom’s writing here, at CBSSports.com and Athlonsports.com, where he’s been an editorial consultant for the annual racing magazine for 15 years.

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“In a race where there were more yellow flag laps (52) than green flag laps (49), the carnage provided the perfect opportunity for these underdogs to have their day.”

That’s all you need to know.

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