“I think that 2019 is going to be the year of the Pro Sprint,” he said. “This series has been constantly growing the past 3 years and we now have a good mix of talent. A lot of veterans who are wanting to stay at the top of the hill, and a lot of young guys that want to knock them down. I think you are really going to see some great racing around the entire track all year.”
For Holmes, the decision to enter the series was quite easy, beginning with his ties to team leader James Stanley and series leader Charles Priestly. The three of them, along with others in the series, have worked together in the past through the Hurricane Midgets.
“A lot of the faces are familiar, as well as the cars in general,” he added. “It’s what I know and what I love so when James asked me to join him in a third car, the decision was really easy. I have also had the really distinct experience of watching the series the past three seasons and being a part of it in a couple different capacities.”
Now going into his rookie campaign, he says the dream would be to pressure Daniel Hawn, but realistically will be focusing on consistency.
“You can win 50% of the races in a season but if you DNF the other half, you aren’t going to produce very good results,” he commented. “I just want to be able to show speed all year and be able to put myself in contention.”
With the OSCAAR Pro Sprints, Holmes will be visiting several tracks that he was able to grow familiar with through his Hurricane Midget experience, including Peterborough Speedway.
“It’s a close tie with it and Sunset, but I have always had good runs at Peterborough in the past so looking forward to it,” he said. “I also think Grand Bend is going to be an exciting challenge for me. I never got the chance to run there before but it will be one I have circled for sure.”
With Holmes being one of several rookies expected this season, it seems the class as a whole is trending in the right direction.
“I think it’s going to be interesting,” he said. “Knowing Daniel Hawn he is going to come out even faster than he was last year, which scares me a little bit – but never the less everybody that falls behind him is usually really similar in speed. As a group, all you can really ask for is that drive to be better, and I think Daniel gives us that drive. So expect to see a lot of drivers step it up this year and make that competition stiffer for the top runners.”
Among the front contenders, Holmes expects his teammate James Stanley to be up there with Holmes.
“Although I’m bias, I think James Stanley is really ready to unseed the No. 2 car this year,” he said. “He has spent more hours working on not only his car but his data to improve; keep an eye on the No. 57 this year. I was really impressed by Gary Triska in the No. 58 this past season as well. He made leaps and bounds compared to the year before.
“Although he’s only running a part time schedule this year as far as I know, Norman Newman in the No. 72 should be able to come in and be talked about every night he shows up. The guy really is fearless; he’s got ice in his veins and with his new modified program rolling out, I think Norm is a guy to watch in both series.
“My wildcard, if you can call him that, would probably be the No. 43 of Tyler Cullen. That kid can drive and I expect big things from him.”
For Holmes, he got his start when he was 14-years-old in the Hurricane Midgets, after watching his father race with them for 10 seasons.
“When I finally showed some interest in racing, he went out and got me my first car the following summer,” he said. “I can never thank him for that, It has created a bond between him and I, that I am forever thankful for. He is also pretty much solely to thank for a lot of my favourite memories because without racing, I wouldn’t have had any of them.”
Out of the memorable moments through the years, Holmes says the one that sticks out for him would be watching Stanley win his first feature at Sauble Speedway a couple years ago.
“Just to see the pure joy in his face and being a part of it all was really one of the best moments ever,” he commented. “It probably helps with how awkward he was in his post race interview, but luckily he’s improved on that!”
By: Ashley McCubbin