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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If it’s an even year, you might want to put your money on Eric Holmes winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title. Holmes, the 2006 and 2008 champion, has pushed himself to the top of the standings with three wins and six top fives in the season’s first eight races.
Holmes has only gotten stronger as the summer months have heated up the 2010 championship race. He drove to the victory at Montana Raceway Park last week and recorded a strong runner-up finish at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway in the previous race, performances that have landed him in the top spot for the August edition of the Hunter Index.
“Before winning the race at Montana Raceway Park, Eric Holmes said he didn't feel his team was as dominant as in years past. He expected more wins and some better results at this point in the season,” said Tim Haddock of haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com. “He qualified seventh for the Montana race, but impressively worked his way to the front during one of the longest green-flag runs all year. It took Holmes 118 laps to get the lead at Montana, but once he had it, no one was going to take it away from him.”
The Hunter Index is a new feature in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com that will spotlight the top 10 drivers in the NASCAR Developmental Series in a monthly power poll. Drivers are ranked on their performance over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives.
Holmes, who received three first-place votes, narrowly edged Nebraska dirt late model driver Craig Preble and Darrell Wallace Jr. of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Preble, who received two first-place votes, is chasing Connecticut’s Keith Rocco in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship race. The Yuma, Neb., driver has put together an impressive run in the last month with six wins and eight top fives in nine starts at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and at I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb.
“I think it’s about time he gets his due,” said Adam Fenwick of National Speed Sport News. “He’s having a really good year and is hotter than Rocco right now.”
Wallace had just one race in the voting period, but made quite an impression.
The 16-year-old from Mobile, Ala., used a three-wide pass in the closing laps to take the win at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway. The victory, his second of the year, continued his hot stretch that has included a win, three thirds and a sixth in his last five races to move within 33 points of series points leader Ryan Truex.
DJ Kennington, who had a win, a second and a third in a four-race stretch in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, was fourth, and Ted Christopher, fifth. Christopher, who received the other first-place vote, had a win in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Monadnock Raceway in New Hampshire to go with two wins and three top fives in five starts in his asphalt Modified at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
L.W. Miller (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour) was sixth, followed by Jason Miller (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Antonio Perez (NASCAR Mexico Series), Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series) and Greg Edward (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series).
Four drivers earned honorable mention, including Patrick Long, who won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Portland, and JR Fitzpatrick, who won the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Edmonton.
The Hunter Index is named for Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series that make up the NASCAR Developmental Series.
The Index was designed in the off season as an opportunity to compare the top drivers from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. It will also encompass drivers from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
Holmes joins Virginia asphalt Late Model driver Philip Morris (March), Paulie Harraka of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (April), Christopher (May), Bobby Santos of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (June) and Rocco (July) in earning the No. 1 position in the Index.
The panel also included media members Shawn Courchesne of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant representing the Northeast, Adam Fenwick from the Southeast, Haddock from the West Coast, and Spencer Lewis, representing the Canadian publication Inside Track Motorsports News. They are joined by Brett Bodine, who is the chairman of the NASCAR Resumé Committee and represents the NASCAR competition side on the panel, and Jason Christley, the NASCAR public relations representative.
|1||ERIC HOLMES (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West)|
|Why he’s here: He’s been consistently good over the last four years, with two series championships and a runner-up finish. This year has been no different. He’s put himself in line for a third championship thanks to a second-place at Portland and a big win in Montana.|
|2||CRAIG PREBLE (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Nebraska driver has rolled off six wins in his last nine starts to keep the pressure on Connecticut’s Keith Rocco in the national title race.|
|3||DARRELL WALLACE JR. (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East)|
|Why He’s Here: Put an exclamation point on his recent hot streak with a three-wide pass to claim the win at Lee USA Speedway.|
|4||DJ KENNINGTON (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Wrested the points lead away from JR Fitzpatrick with a win at Saskatoon, to go with a second at Vernon and third at Toronto.|
|5||TED CHRISTOPHER (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series / Whelen Modified Tour)|
|Why He’s Here: Continues to get it done in a Modified: A pair of wins in the weekly ranks to go along with a win on the Tour that put him right back in title contention.|
|6||L.W. MILLER (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour)|
|Why He’s Here: Used the bump-and-run to take the win away from Burt Myers at historic Bowman Gray Stadium and claimed the points lead in the process.|
|7||JASON MILLER (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Nearly perfect on the first at Kopella Speedway in Wisconsin, winning five times in his last six starts.|
|8||ANTONIO PEREZ (NASCAR Mexico Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Series points leader finished second at Puebla before picking up first win of the season at Guadalaraja.|
|9||SCOTT STECKLY (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Backed up impressive win at Vernon with a third-place run at Edmonton and a fourth-place run at Saskatoon.|
|10||GREG EDWARDS (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Four wins and five top fives in seven starts at Langley Speedway has moved the Virginia driver into the top 10 in the national standings.|