Eric Holmes won the inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Montana Raceway Park on Saturday night and padded his lead in the West Series standings.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Driver Eric Holmes
Eric Holmes started seventh and took the lead from David Mayhew on lap 113.
Holmes won his third race of the season and his first since June 5 at Douglas County Speedway in Oregon.
Holmes started seventh and took the lead from David Mayhew on lap 113. Two crashes over the last 30 laps bunched up the field, but Holmes was able to maintain his lead through both caution periods.
"We had a great car here tonight. Set up was real good," said Holmes, driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing. "The car worked real well on the bottom."
The race was caution free from the start until lap 103. Greg Pursley won the pole and led the first 18 laps of the race.
Eric Holmes wins NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Montana Raceway Park
"It's a pretty cool track to race at," said Pursley, driver of the No. 26 Ford for Gene Price Motorsports. "Started out really good. We were fighting a little loose, David Mayhew had a better can than we did at that point. Let him go by. We were just trying to hang out until lap 150. I don't think anybody thought we were going to run 105 laps straight under green."
Mayhew took the lead on lap 19 and held it for a race-high 94 laps. Meanwhile Holmes was working his through the field and closing in on Mayhew.
"Started seventh, took a little bit to get up to the front," Holmes said. "Once we got into second, we had that long green. Just kind of rode there in second waiting for a caution."
Holmes got his caution for debris on lap 103. Holmes took the lead from Mayhew 10 laps later, but rookie Luis Martinez spun out on lap 118 and brought out another caution.
"Got a caution late in the race there, had a great restart against Mayhew, ran side by side with him for a couple of laps," Holmes said. "Them late yellows there were a little nerve racking having to go through them restarts again."
Late in the race, Travis Bennett and Paulie Harraka, who was running in second place at the time, collided. Pursley was caught up in the wreck and limped around the track for an 18th place finish. Harraka crossed the finish line in 11th. Bennett was penalized for rough driving and pushed back to the last car on the lead lap in 12th.
Holmes has a 79-point lead over Mayhew in the West Series standings after eight races. Jonathon Gomez, who was fourth in Montana, is third in the West Series standings, 162 points out of first.
"The car was real good on the bottom and had some great restarts and brought the NAPA Toyota back to victory lane," Holmes said.
Mayhew finished second, followed by Moses Smith in third. Gomez was fourth and Gary Lewis, from nearby Bothel, Wash., was fifth.
"We had a pretty good car," Mayhew said. "We had a good car up front. Didn't quite have the thing at the end like we needed, had a good battle with Eric on that last restart. I was hoping to pinch him down and hold him off. He's got these short tracks down and had a good car at the end."
The next K&N Pro Series West race is Saturday, Aug. 14, at Colorado National Speedway.
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