Lloyd Dane with NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Eric Holmes at Phoenix – Dane was the series’ first champion in 1954 and the first three-time champion, adding titles in 1956 and ’57; Holmes became the seventh driver in series history to win three crowns, adding his 2010 title to the ones he won in 2006 and ’08. (Chris Richards/NASCAR Photo)
With each championship, Eric Holmes’ focus has changed. He delivered the first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title in 2006 to car owner Allen Beebe, who had been part of the series for more than 20 years without winning one. Holmes returned to the series in 2008, hired by Bill McAnally to specifically to deliver the championship. As he raised the trophy again following the 2010 finale at Phoenix International Raceway, Holmes became just the seventh driver in series history to win three titles.
“You always want to win a championship, but you never think about winning two or three or four or five or anything like that,” said the Escalon, Calif., driver. “My goal is to win as many as I can and keep this thing going.
“I remember growing up, watching greats like Hershel McGriff, Jim Robinson, Ron Hornaday, Bill Schmitt and Rick Carelli, and always wishing I could be like them and race like them – and now I’m a three-time West Series champion.”
Eric Holmes, NASCAR's Mike Helton, Lloyd Dane
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West is one of NASCAR’s oldest divisions, dating back to the days when it was known as the Pacific Coast Late Model Division. Its first championship was won by Lloyd Dane, who piloted his 1953 Hudson Hornet to the championship – in addition to driving it to and from the track.
“It means a bunch to me,” said the 85-year-old Dane, of being a NASCAR champion. “I could see what NASCAR was doing when Bill France Sr. first came into it. When I found out they wanted to come out to California, I thought it was great.”
Dane received that NASCAR championship trophy in Daytona from Bill France Sr. alongside Lee Petty receiving his Grand National Circuit trophy.
“It was awesome to me,” said Dane, who now lives in Concord, N.C. “I never thought I’d ever be in Daytona, let alone get a championship trophy. I was so proud.”
Dane returned to the West Coast and won two more championships in 1956 and ’57 to become one of NASCAR’s first three-time champions. Dane, who won his first NASCAR race at an old horse track in Phoenix, returned to Arizona this November to be on hand as Holmes joined him in that elite company with his third title.