Eric Holmes has accumulated 17 victories racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Those wins have come at 10 different tracks.
One of the venues the three-time series champion has yet to win at, however, is Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. He’s come close, oh so close; but has yet to take the traditional sip of wine from the winner’s goblet in Victory Lane.
Holmes has finished in the top five in five of seven starts on the twisting 1.99-mile road course. In 2008, he finished second there after winning the pole. Last year, he was running out front when he encountered engine trouble.
Holmes, who wheels the No. 16 NAPA Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, will get another chance at the elusive victory when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to Sonoma for the Carneros 200 on Saturday, June 22.
“It’s been my favorite race to go to every year,” said Holmes, who lives about 100 miles from the track in Escalon.
“We’ve had awesome cars,” he added. Nevertheless, he has yet to get the win there.
“Last year was probably the most disappointing,” the 38-year-old said. “I really thought we had that race won. We had a 14-second lead and cruising and had an engine problem. That was a bummer there.”
Circumstances this year, meanwhile, provide Holmes with a different perspective on the race.
“I’m looking forward to this year because I’m not in a championship battle,” said Holmes, who only ran three of the first five races this season. “It seems like every year we’ve had to be a little conservative, because there are so many points to lose at that race. We just go for a good finish. This year we can go for the win and not worry about the points. I’m really looking forward to that.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West has a long history at Sonoma and Holmes puts extra emphasis on winning there.
“It would mean a lot,” Holmes said, in regard to a win. “You always want to win the big races. I’m proud of all my accomplishments and wins that I’ve had, but I would have to say that one disappointment I have is not winning there.
“I think this is the 25th year they’ve had that race,” Holmes said of the big NASCAR weekend at Sonoma. “I’ve been there every year as a fan or racing. My biggest disappointment is not winning that race. It’s something I want to win. Hopefully, we can accomplish that this time.”
Official NASCAR Press Release