WINSTON-SALEM, N.C — Story and Photo By Tom Baker –John Holleman is ready for a 2022 Bowman-Gray Stadium championship run in the modified division with his No. 69. A FedEx route driver during the week who turns into a hard-nosed racer on the weekends, had himself a fine 2021 season at the oldest operational NASCAR Weekly Racing Series track in existence. He won three times at his hometown track in his first full year of modified competition, set fast time twice and won several awards including the Most Popular Driver, an award he won for the fifth time at the speedway.
We caught up with him recently to get his thoughts on last season, learn a bit more about his career, the podcast he and his wife have started, and talk about a 2022 season at BGS that consists of 17 races and begins Saturday, April 23.
You really came into your own last season with the Modified. Talk about how you felt going into ’21 after running so well in a limited number of modified starts in ’19, and how you feel now looking back on a three-win season?
Yeah, those two starts in 2019 really helped me to understand where my expectations should be. Right out of the gate in those two races we were contending for wins and that really boosted my confidence. Of course, 2020 happened and I had to wait a whole year before I could get back to the track and prove myself any further. So, the three wins we got in ‘21 were definitely something I envisioned because I understood I was definitely capable of that with the great team I have around me plus the valuable experience 2019 gave me.
Your success in ’21 has to give you great confidence for even more going into 2022. What goals have you set for yourself going into next season at BGS?
Absolutely. The only thing I felt unsure about going into last year (‘21) was qualifying. After hitting our stride and grabbing two pole awards at the end of the season, I have the utmost confidence in every facet of my race team. The goal is to win the most races, qualify on the most poles, and take home the championship. I really enjoy the longer races like the 100, 150, twin 50’s, and of course the legendary Hayes 200 on opening night. In saying that, those are the races that are definitely on my list to walk away with the trophy.
Growing up, you had family who raced, and you started in Bandolero cars at a very young age. Reflecting back across the years, how did your time in Bandos and Legend cars prepare you for a move to big cars at BGS?
I think just learning how to master my race craft in Bandoleros and Legend cars set me up for success in any kind of racing I do in my life. Whether it be racing etiquette, hitting your line consistently, or just learning how to outsmart your competitors. Those series taught me all of that and that’s where I really honed my racing fundamentals.
You raced for a season in the NASCAR K&N East Series now known as ARCA East. You had some very strong runs with a team that was admittedly underfunded. What are some highlights from that season that you can recall for us?
Qualifying on the pole at Stafford and finishing 6th at Iowa are what really stick out in my mind. Just knowing we were the underdog at every race was difficult because I knew we were competing for top ten finishes and that essentially would be a win for us. A lot was learned through that season that I will carry with me throughout my career.
You and your wife Rachel are doing a podcast together. Give us the scoop and tell us what it’s about!
Sure! It is called the “It Is Good Podcast”! Me and my wife Rach have a great time talking about our everyday life while sprinkling in some of God’s truth and sharing the gospel to everyone. It’s really something that we’ve grown to love, and we even do weekly recaps of my races during racing season so if you’re just a race fan or someone intrigued by the faith or you just like listening to fun, funny, & lighthearted conversations then definitely check out the It Is Good podcast available on all major platforms.
You’ve always said that one of your favorite things about racing is the connection to your fans. You’ve won the Most Popular Driver Award at BGS five times now across a variety of divisions. What’s your secret?
Shoot I don’t know! I don’t have a secret on that deal. I guess just being a blue-collar hard-working American resonates with race fans. You know I’m just one of them during the week, but on the weekends, I’ve been blessed enough to be able to get behind a wheel of a bad fast racecar and put on a show for those same people I’m in the trenches with during the week. People respect that & I just try to stay humble and aware of how blessed & fortunate I am to be able to do what I love to do.
Talk about your team, your sponsors and anyone else who helps you make your racing happen.
Well I for sure have to thank my wife for the sacrifices she makes and all the evenings and weekends she gives up supporting me in this racing deal! My dad is always working behind the scenes, and I definitely thank him for that. Also, my crew chief(s) Brian & Carson Loftin always get the car hooked up perfect! All of my crew guys that help out on the weekends too, couldn’t do it without them. Brennan, Taylor, Nick, Eddie, Dustin, Michael, Dylan, Spencer, Ed, Phil, and Mitch. Definitely have to thank all of my great sponsors and partners who I hope to continue to make proud in 2022. Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant, Midway Mobile Storage, Colby’s Home Repairs, Black Sand Company, Miller properties, R&R Automotive, Parkway Automotive, and L&R Transmissions. Special thanks to Rahmoc engines for always giving us the best engines in the industry.