In a season filled with disqualifications, penalties and setbacks, Eric Holmes, a three-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, won his first race of the season at Spokane County Raceway in Washington on Saturday night.
Eric Holmes wins NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Spokane County Raceway in Washington
It was the 15th K&N Pro Series West win of his career and his first since Oct. 16, 2010, at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion Eric Holmes
"We had a great car all night," said Holmes, driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing. "The car was good, moving up. I felt like I was gaining on them at the end of the first 100. The NAPA Toyota team made a great change there at the halfway break. I think that's all we needed. And I got great restarts."
Greg Pursley, the leader in the K&N Pro Series West standings, all but wrapped up the championship with a third-place finish.
"We had a good night. It's a real good night for the Gene Price Motorsports Fords," Pursley said. "Just was a little bit off, a little bit tight. Made a few adjustments on the halftime break and made it a little better. Got up there and raced with them guys. Just a little bit off tonight. Congratulations to Eric and those guys. They finally got one."
Holmes, the reigning K&N Pro Series West champion, had to fend off rookie Dylan Kwasniewski for two restarts in the final 20 laps of the race.
Kwasniewski won the pole and led the first 103 laps of the Spokane 200. Holmes, who started sixth, worked his way to the front and took the lead on lap 104. He held it for 43 laps before Kwasniewski regained the lead for a couple laps.
Holmes took back the lead on lap 150 and was out front for the last 50 laps of the race.
Justin Funkhouser spun out on lap 185 and the race was red-flagged to clean up the mess. When the race restarted on lap 192, it set up an eight-lap dash to the finish between Holmes and Kwasniewski.
"Racing side-by-side was great," said Kwasniewski, who led a race-high 105 laps. "We had the car to win. He definitely had a first-place car, too. It was just who made the less mistakes and who drove the hardest."
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West made its first visit to Spokane County Raceway since 1979.
All Pursley, Kwasniewski's teammate at Gene Price Motorsports, needs to do is start the next K&N Pro Series West race at Roseville to win the championship, the first of his career. Pursley has a 294-point lead over Moses Smith in the K&N Pro Series West standings.
"A little bit closer to that championship there, so we got two races to go," Pursley said. "Hopefully all we got to do is start them. Good night."
Luis Martinez Jr. finished fourth and Smith was fifth in the race at Spokane County Raceway.
The Spokane 200 will be broadcast on Speed on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
The next K&N Pro Series West race is the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 at All American Speedway in Roseville, California, on October 15.
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