Auto racing, perhaps more than any other sport, is made up of participants who can trace their roots in the sport back generations. Some families, like the Petty family or the Andretti family, have three or four generations of drivers. Others, like the Marcum family, the founding family of the Automobile Racing Club of America, can also claim three generations of involvement in the sport.
It’s rare to find someone in the sport whose family was never around it as they were growing up.
For Nic Moncher, general manager at Bret Holmes Racing, that’s exactly what happened. Born in Toledo, Ohio and raised in Tiffin and Sandusky, Moncher and his family had no connection to racing. His family didn’t have a racer in it, in fact, they didn’t even know there were short tracks peppered throughout northwest Ohio. Yet somehow, Moncher found NASCAR racing on television and was enthralled.
“No one in my family knew anything about racing,” Moncher said. “We didn’t go to any of the short tracks around Ohio, we didn’t watch it on TV, nothing. We didn’t even know it was a thing. But somehow I found it one day when I was a kid and I couldn’t stop watching it. I became a huge Jeff Gordon fan. I went to my first race at Michigan International Speedway in 1999. From there on out it was all I wanted to do. We lived in Sandusky, and I found out there was a NASCAR team located there and I started banging on their door wanting to do anything I could to be involved.”
The team was ThorSport Racing. While the team is now one of the powerhouse organizations in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at the time, in 2004, it was a small team still looking for long-term sustained success. And while any and all help was appreciated, Moncher still had to start on the ground floor.
“I would pound on (ThorSport team manager) David Pepper’s door all the time asking him, begging him, to hire me,” Moncher said. “Eventually he said I could work there but I would have to do all the jobs no one else wanted to do – sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, cleaning the bathrooms – for a year before they would let me start to work on the trucks. Eventually they started giving me more and more to do. I started installing decals and doing some of the graphics on the trucks.
“Some time in 2005 I told them I wanted to start to go to the racetrack, and eventually they let me. But I had to ride to and from the race in the hauler. I really got to see a lot about how the sport works from a lot of different perspectives.”
After a couple of years with ThorSport, Moncher decided he wanted to get even more involved in the management side of the sport so he departed Ohio to attend Belmont Abbey’s motorsports management program in Belmont, North Carolina.
“It was the first motorsports management program in the country,” he said. “It was led by Humpy Wheeler, who was promoter at Charlotte Motor Speedway for years, and John Bickford, who was Jeff Gordon’s stepfather and manager during the early part of his career. I was one of the first 20 people accepted into that program.”
After school, Moncher found himself in a wide variety of jobs in the racing industry, ranging from mechanic and pit crew member to producer of a motorsports talk show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He worked with legendary racing journalist Chris Economaki at National Speed Sport News and learned about the intricacies of the die cast collectible market at Motorsports Authentics. In 2009, while working with Venturini Motorsports, he started working in team management for the first time. He’s still at it a decade later.
“My first job with Venturini Motorsports I was strictly a mechanic and a crew member,” he said. “When Billy (Venturini) stepped out of the seat they started working more on driver development and I helped them get that program up and running. It was my first real foray into working in the front office of a race team.”
Moncher moved to Joey Coulter’s team in 2010 and followed Coulter to Richard Childress Racing in 2011 and 2012 before joining GMS Racing and driver Spencer Gallagher in 2013. He helped organize GMS’s efforts from a small one-car ARCA team to a championship team in both the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. When GMS wanted to focus more on the NASCAR side of things, they sold their ARCA inventory to the Holmes family. Moncher was part of the deal.
“Maury Gallagher wanted to win an ARCA championship so we signed Grant Enfinger for a full season in 2015,” he said. “We won the first three races of the year and six overall. Grant won the championship and the Holmes family came in and wanted to get involved. They bought all of GMS’s ARCA inventory. Part of the deal was they would get all of the crew and me too.”
After a year with the Holmes team, Moncher had another offer to work with another NASCAR Truck team. In his absence, Holmes was competitive but not as competitive as they’d have liked. The team took the second half of 2018 off to reorganize, hoping for better results. They made two key moves. The first was hiring long-time crew chief Shane Huffman to oversee the racecars. The second was to bring Moncher back to manage the team and be Holmes’s eyes in the sky, communicating directly with the driver via two-way radio during the race.
“I always liked the management side of the sport,” he said. “I liked the mechanical side too, but I just felt I was better suited to be on the management side. Being the spotter keeps me involved on the competition side of things too.”
With Holmes currently sitting third in the series championship standings, Moncher is looking forward to returning to his home track with a chance to win.
“I never even knew Toledo Speedway existed growing up,” he said. “The first time I even heard about it was on a poster at a gas station when I was a kid. They were advertising the ARCA race and a poster was in the window. It had all of the previous race winners and champions on it. It would be pretty cool for us to add our names to that list.”
Practice for the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway is scheduled for 12:30 pm ET on Saturday, May 18, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 4 pm ET. A 35-lap ARCA late model sportsman feature event will close Saturday’s activities at the track. The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 will go green shortly after 2 pm ET on Sunday, May 19. The race will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live user chat throughout all on-track sessions at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. Tickets are available by calling the Toledo Speedway ticket office at (419) 727-1100. Discounted tickets are available at Northwest Ohio Menards locations for $15, a savings of $10 from the raceday ticket price.