When race car drivers are growing up, they usually dream of racing in the “big-time” at the tracks they see on television with the stars of the sport. One such driver who had those dreams is Southwest Virginia native, Caleb Holman.
While growing up and racing the short tracks around Virginia and Tennessee, Caleb had aspirations of racing in the upper levels of NASCAR. Working his way up through the ranks from mini-stocks at Wytheville Raceway to racing Late Models at places like Lonesome Pine Raceway and Kingsport. Caleb made his NASCAR national touring series debut in the Nationwide Series in 2003 at Richmond driving a car owned by his Father, Darrell Holman.
After a while he partnered with Charlie Henderson, founder of Food Country USA, a regional grocery store chain. Caleb found success and eventually began competing on the UARA touring late model series and the X1R Pro Cup Series. Henderson loves racing and wants to succeed with Holman at the wheel. In 2006, he competed at Bristol for Henderson finishing 33rd, but only four laps behind the leader. He made a few more starts in the series over the next few years, but never found the right combination.
In 2012, Holman and the Henderson team made their way to the Camping World Truck Series. Making his debut at Rockingham, he instantly seemed to be at home in the trucks finishing a respectable 21st. He followed that effort with another 21st at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished the season with eight starts and three top-20 finishes with his worst finish coming at Atlanta with a 27th. Holman has produced similar results in 2013 with five starts so far this season, with a best finish of 17th coming at Bristol.
In attempt to take the next step, the team purchased a superspeedway truck from Richard Childress Racing. They will make their superspeedway debut at Talladega Superspeedway in the Fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, Oct 19.
In preparation for the race, Caleb traveled to the RCR shop almost every day to finish getting the truck prepared. It is a rarity in the sport today when the driver works on the race car. That is the way Holman was raised, in race shops, around race cars, and knowing to get things and get them done right, you have to get your hands dirty. Working on the race cars that he drives is just second nature – it’s what you do. From the very beginning, his Father Darrell, taught him to work and prepare race cars and earn what you get, not expect it to be handed to you.
Darrell Holman talked about the team owner, Charlie Henderson, “He (Henderson) loves it and he wants to see his truck running, he don’t to see us out back loafing.” When asked about their stats he continued, “For a team our size and no more races than we’re doing, we’re really overachieving probably, because most of the time we finish 17th to 20th, and for what we’re up against, that’s a really good day for us.”
Holman, asked about being at Talladega, said “It sounds almost to me – conceited and arrogant to be saying, when you talk to somebody at home and you say – yeah we’re going to Talladega. You say it like it’s Talladega, big deal, but when you stop and think about it you’re like man that’s big. Not just big like big racetrack, big like never thought I’d be here, never thought that would happen and you have to catch yourself when you’re talking to people at home that you have known forever, what that sounds like. When you say Talladega to them, they see pictures of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, so it’s a big deal. It really is and like I say when you get to building a truck, and all the stuff you got to do, it’s easy to forget that man this is really cool.”
This team has the feel of local hometown team. A sense of teamwork and pride fills their garage stall. Throw in a dash of family values and good old fashion dose of “do the best you can with what you have” and you have a recipe for making the dreams of a former mini-stock racer from Southwest Virginia come true on the fast, high-banks of Talladega Superspeedway.