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Holmes wins big payout on Championship Night at the LoanMart Madera Speedway By Ronald Montez

While winning a tall first-place shiny trophy is a nice and well-earned token for victorious drivers at the LoanMart Madera Speedway, competitors in the Open Late Model Series had another incentive to come out on top - $10,000.00 was also on the line.

In front of a packed house on Saturday night (October 14, 2014) in the "Best of the West" Short Track Shootout, it was the Open Late Model drivers who we're hoping to get their hands on the trophy that also came attached with the sizable monetary price.

The entertaining show also featured Race No. 8 of the Hobby Stock Open Series, the USAC HRD Midgets and the final points race of the season for the exciting Toyota Sedans and MST's.

In the main event of the evening, it was Eric Holmes who won the all-important Race No. 8 of the Open Late Model Series 125 as he was presented with a giant check in the winner's circle.

Although it may have not been the easiest prize money to get, it certainly was the sweetest for Holmes, who outlasted the 22-car field in a 125-lap race that was spilt up into three racing segments (50 laps, 50 laps, and 25 laps).

In order to win the final main of the season against what many would consider some of the top drivers from the West Coast, Holmes had to do his best to conserve his car for the long-haul while at the same not sacrificing his upper position in the race.

In the first 50 laps of the main, Buddy Shepherd was in the leading spot with Brian Herzog, Holmes, and Ryan Cansdale in the No. 2-4 positions.

"The whole night was just really long and I knew I had to save the car until the end," Holmes said after the race. "I knew I wanted to be in the top four but in the second half I kind of lost handle of the car and we ended finding something bent on it, so we fixed it and came back in the second half."

After the drivers returned from the pit area to run Laps 50-100, Shepherd continued to stay ahead of everyone else while Cansdale quiet sat behind in second within striking distance.

On Lap 70, Shepherd unexpectedly gave up his lead after he took a trip to the infield which opened the door for Cansdale to get into first with Holmes, points leader Matt Erickson - who was a six-time main winner this season - and top qualifier (15.368) Trevor Huddleston following behind.

Despite a caution on Lap 75, Cansdale remained in first while Holmes, Erickson, and Huddleston closely trailed after 100 laps.

When the drivers once again returned from the pit area to complete the final 25 laps, they all knew that it was still anyone's race to take as tension clearly began to grow especially on the restarts.

Every racer also understood the importance of getting good restarts which had several in the final 20 laps.

After waving the pink flag - substituting for green in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month - on Lap 103, it was Holmes who eventually emerged to the front but at the slight expense of Cansdale.

"I knew it would be really hard to beat the 51 (Cansdale) and I tried to do it nicely in the first lap but it didn't work so I knew the second time I'd have to just get by him," Holmes explained. "I felt like I left him enough room to race me and we just banged off each other. I think that's just good hard short-track racing and that's what I had to do to win it and I knew if I got out front, I'd be hard to beat."

As the race began to draw to a close, Holmes knew he had no choice Click here for more...
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