Last season was magical for Bret Holmes and the No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing team owned by his father Stacy Holmes. In his fifth season of competition in the ARCA Menards Series, Holmes finally broke through to pick up his first career win at Kansas Speedway in July and rode the momentum to become the ARCA Menards Series champion.
The accolades the team stacked up at the end of the year included the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge title for the No. 23 team and car owner Stacy Holmes, thanks to Bret’s picking up one win, six top fives and seven top-10 finishes between the seven superspeedway races on the schedule.
Sponsored by General Tire, the exclusive tire provider for the ARCA Menards Series platform, the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge is a special “series within a series” in the overall ARCA Menards Series championship chase.
The challenge is comprised of races on the ARCA Menards Series schedule at paved ovals greater than 1.5 miles in length. Race points only count toward a team’s yearlong tally, with bonus points disregarded within this total. The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge is contested among car owners, rather than drivers, so that a team using multiple drivers has the same chances of winning as a team with a single full-time driver.
The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge title was first awarded in 1984 to Davey Allison as the owner-driver of his No. 23 Miller High Life Pontiac. Allison’s No. 23 was fielded by Bill Collins’ Miller American Racing team the next year, and he managed to go back-to-back as a driver by delivering Collins the superspeedway championship for 1985.
Thirty-five years later, another Alabama native running the No. 23 would lead his team to capture the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship thanks to Holmes’ triumph.
With the 2020 title, Holmes became the 28th different car owner across 37 seasons to take the crown. On 19 occasions, the car owner of the overall series champion has also been the winning car owner in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge.
Multi-time winning car owners include Larry Clement five times; Cathy Venturini three times; and James Finch, Ken Schrader and Eddie Sharp twice each. Frank Kimmel was the primary driver for the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge-winning car owner six times: five times for Larry Clement’s Tri-State Motorsports group and once for Duke Thorson’s ThorSport Racing operation.
While the nature of the points format allows the possibility for a car owner to win the title using more than one driver, it has been an infrequent occurrence. It was not until Billy Gerhart won the challenge in 2004 that a rotation of drivers would push their car owner to the championship, thanks to the efforts of his brother Bobby Gerhart and a trio of then-Hendrick Motorsports development drivers at the wheel of the No. 5 car.
It has only happened twice since. In 2016, Billy Venturini’s No. 55 won with Dalton Sargeant and William Byron (starting just one race that Sargeant sat out due to minimum age restrictions). And in 2019, Ty Majeski anchored the efforts of three different drivers that led Chad Bryant’s No. 22 to the title.
The 2021 General Tire Superspeedway Challenge will once again consist of seven races throughout the ARCA Menards Series season. As it has every year since 1987, Daytona International Speedway will serve as the first venue on both the ARCA Menards Series schedule and the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge schedule.
The series will visit Talladega Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway throughout the spring and summer months before coming back to Kansas for the season’s final race in October.
Several driver-owner combinations enter 2021 as potential favorites for this year’s General Tire Superspeedway Challenge. Coy Gibbs will field the No. 18 Toyota full-time for his son Ty Gibbs, six times a winner in 2020, and Max Siegel’s Rev Racing team will have a Toyota full-time for Nick Sanchez.
Billy Venturini will have Corey Heim, a winner at Kansas in the final superspeedway race of 2020, full-time in his No. 20 Toyota. Venturini Motorsports will feature Drew Dollar (the Talladega winner in 2020) and Gracie Trotter in Bill Venturini’s No. 15; Trotter will also spend time in Cathy Venturini’s No. 25.
Thad Moffitt, searching for more sponsors in order to run the full season, will look to also be a factor in the No. 46 Ford now owned by new David Gilliland Racing team partner Johnny Gray.
2021 General Tire Superspeedway Challenge Schedule
|Feb. 13||Daytona International Speedway|
|April 24||Talladega Superspeedway|
|May 1||Kansas Speedway|
|May 29||Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|June 25||Pocono Raceway|
|Aug. 20||Michigan International Speedway|
|Oct. 23||Kansas Speedway|
All information courtesy of ARCARacing.com
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