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Holmes outlasts Gomes in Toyota/Napa Auto Parts 150
Eric Holmes of Escalon basks in his victory at the Toyota/Napa Auto Parts 150 in Roseville this past Saturday. - photo by Photo by JEANNIE BROUSSAL

ROSEVILLE — Defending 2010 NASCAR Pro Series West champion Eric Holmes, age 36 of Escalon, drove his Bill McAnally Racing NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota to victory in last Saturday’s Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Pick-n-Pull at All-American Speedway in Roseville.

It was the second straight series win and fourth in eight starts at All-American Speedway for Holmes, but it did not come easily.

After qualifying earlier in the day, Holmes had the fastest time for the session until the final car went on the track, and 18-year-old Mantecan Jacob Gomes nabbed the pole position by 0.04 seconds.

“I always look forward to coming to All-American Speedway,” said Holmes. “We’ve got a lot of support from NAPA and a lot of local fans. It’s one of my favorite races of the year. We usually win it or something happens.”

Gomes also gained the early lead in the race until Holmes was finally able to get by him on Lap 31. Another teenager, 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Dylan Kwasniewski, grabbed the lead from Holmes on Lap 68 and later 15-year-old Cameron Hayley took the lead.

Holmes was able to retake the top spot for good on Lap 140 and then was able to hold off a determined Greg Pursley, of Newhall, over the final 12 laps of competition.

“Tonight, we had a great car,” Holmes said afterward. “We had to give up the lead there for a little while. We lost the brakes – had a little brake issue. But we got it dialed in and saved the car for the end”

With his win, Holmes moved into second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship standings behind Pursley (2,220 to 1,902), who has clinched the 2011 championship.

The race will air on SPEED on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m.The next and final event 2011 schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be the Casino Arizona 125 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The SRL Southwest Tour also raced in Roseville on Saturday.

Bobby Hodges took the win in that one while Gomes finished 10th and Holmes 12th.  Another pair of Manteca drivers, Ross Strmiska and Michael Sandoval, came home in eight and 11th respectively.

Gomes now trails Seaside’s Jim Pettit II by a 1,437 to 1,397 margin in the SRL points as the series heads to the Las Vegas Bullring for its season finale on Oct. 29.