Entering the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season, Bret Holmes did not expect to run the full schedule. Fast forward to one year and the reigning series champion is gearing up his Bret Holmes Racing team for a dance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. On Thursday, Holmes announced BHR will begin racing in the Truck Series on a part-time basis while continuing their ARCA operations, also in a limited scale. BHR will field the #32 Chevrolet Silverado for Holmes and Sam Mayer in addition to the #23 Chevrolet Camaro in ARCA.
In a Zoom press conference, Holmes described the news as “the culmination of a lot of things, mainly winning the championship last year. I feel like we knew we could move up from that and moving into a part-time deal in the Trucks and ARCA kind of gave us a little wiggle room for anybody to join the team. I think Sam and I and his family already have a good friendship and relationship at the track; he’s a great guy altogether and a great driver.”
The 23-year-old Holmes has raced in ARCA for his family team since 2016, and was coming off a third-place points finish entering 2020. After a strong start to the season, he opted to upgrade back to a full-time schedule and scored his maiden series win at Kansas in July. Holmes recorded top-five finishes in fourteen of twenty races to win the championship by twelve points.
“We had a lot of interest in [moving up to the Truck Series] last year and obviously, everything that happened made it extremely tough to do that,” Holmes added. “I think when we took another stab at the championship last year and it worked out in our favour, I think it gave us more of a ride and intent to move up. As a driver, it gave that confidence back in me to say that I’m capable of doing it and being competitive in the series, and I know that we’ve got some great crew guys on our team that are capable of doing it.”
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Mayer is establishing himself as a rising star in NASCAR. He won the ARCA Menards Series East championships in 2019 and 2020 for GMS Racing, with the latter campaign seeing him win all but one race (the exception was a second-place finish). He also ran twelve races in the national ARCA series, where he had top fives in eleven events and won five times.
Mayer also had a six-race Truck schedule in 2020 for GMS, winning at Bristol in a weekend that also saw him triumph in the short track’s ARCA race. In addition to his part-time Truck slate with BHR, Mayer’s 2021 plans will primarily focus on the Xfinity Series when he joins JR Motorsports‘ #8 for the second half of the season.
“It’s definitely a big deal for me to stay in the (Truck) seat so I could be ready to go for the Xfinity side with JR Motorsports at the end of the year,” said Mayer. “It’s just a big deal all around for both parties because I get to go Truck racing and they get that opportunity to make what they need and do what they do in the Truck Series.
“It’ll be a good deal. I don’t know if we can compete for wins out of the gate in the Truck Series but I think we’ll definitely be up front.”
Both drivers will participate in the upcoming weekend’s ARCA test at Daytona. Holmes will pilot the #23 in the series’ season opener at the track, while his Truck début will take place at Atlanta in March.