TULSA, Okla.--Holley Hollan and Giovanni Scelzi will transition from dirt to pavement with Bill McAnally Racing in 2020.
As part of Toyota Racing’s driver development program, the 18-year-old racers will join Jesse Love and Gracie Trotter as part of BMR’s ARCA Series West stable.
The four rookies will also compete in a limited number of ARCA Menard’s events this year.
“We’re very enthusiastic about our lineup of drivers for the 2020 season,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We anticipate plenty of excitement from this talented roster of newcomers to the series. We see great potential in each of them.”
Hollan, a fourth-generation racer from Broken Arrow, Okla., started her motorsports career when she was 5 years old. After a stint in 600cc micros, Hollan won the Jr. Sprint championship at Port City (Tulsa) Raceway in 2014 before moving to midgets in 2017. She currently drives midgets for Keith Kunz Motorsports and finished fifth in the POWRi standings last year. Hollan hopes to become the first female to win a midget feature.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Hollan said of her 2020 transition. “It’s a new adventure for me, obviously. But I’m excited to be going up the ladder in the Toyota development program. It seems like I’m stepping into a whole new world. I think everything I learn from the asphalt stuff will help me on dirt. You go much faster, so I think it will slow everything down some for me when I come back to run the midgets.
"And a lot of the stuff I’ve learned from dirt correlates to and helps me in the asphalt experience. I’m fortunate to be a part of the Toyota team and have them support me in doing this. They’re not only giving me this opportunity but also keeping my best interests in mind and letting me come back to run the midget with Keith Kunz Motorsports.”
Hollan will test with BMR later this month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Irwindale Speedway. Before that, she’s hoping to win in front of the home crowd in the Chili Bowl Nationals. Her qualifying night in the No. 67K midget is Thursday.
“I put my heart into this stuff,” Hollan said. “I’ve been a dirt racer the last 13 years, so it’s my life. It’s what I want to do. I feel like I definitely have unfinished business in midget racing. I need to prove myself here.
“I didn’t really want to leave until I won a race and was competing at the front consistently, but opportunities like this don’t come every day. So I’m taking advantage of them when I get them, but I’m still putting my all into this. It’s going to be a busy year to say the least, but I’m ready to go all in.”
Scelzi followed his father—four-time NHRA drag racing champ Gary Scelzi—into motorsports at 6. However, the elder Scelzi pushed his son into micro sprints to develop car control with the intention of a potential stock car career. “Gio" advanced to full-sized sprint cars in 2016. Two years later, he won first World of Outlaws event.
“It’s amazing to be chosen for a team that is that good,” Scelzi said of BMR. “To be in a car that Derek Kraus won the championship in last year, with the same team, the same sponsors and everyone coming back on board to push a rookie like me. It really builds my confidence.”
Scelzi raced a variety of disciplines in 2019. The Fresno, Californian picked up his second WoO victory by holding off Kyle Larson at the Charlotte Dirt Track in May. Scelzi was the only driver to outrace Larson during the California Midget swing in November with his preliminary night win at Placerville.
Scelzi was recruited by Toyota Racing last year and worked with TRD’s development program, including Executive Engineering Technical Director Andy Graves and Jack Irving, Director, Team & Support Services of TRD. In his first pavement appearance, Scelzi won at Irwindale Speedway.
“They’re really the ones that have pushed me to get involved with pavement,” Scelzi said of Graves and Irving. “Starting with simulator tests and just getting my feet wet with some testing in ARCA cars, it has really pointed me in the direction that I see I want to go now."
Scelzi will still race limited midget and sprint car events in 2020. He'll qualify in the No. 84 Tucker Boat Motorsports midget on Wednesday.
“Obviously, getting to race midgets is a lot of fun, too, with my background in dirt racing,” Scelzi said. “So, it’s all worked out well. I’ll race the big midget races and maybe Indiana Midget Week or the race at IMS and, obviously, the Chili Bowl.
“Then I’ll do a partial schedule with the Sprint car with Guy Forbrook, who is a really decorated crew chief. I’ll do the Knoxville Nationals and some of the bigger Midwest races.”