Corey Heim will be taking a break from his ARCA Menards Series duties with Chad Bryant Racing to compete in the U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) next Saturday, June 1. Heim enters the tri-sanctioned race for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, CARS Tour and Southern Super Series hungry for a victory at a NASCAR Cup Series track after losing a win at Richmond Raceway (VA) earlier this year in heartbreaking.
One year ago, the 16-year-old scored his then-Super Late Model career-best finish of third at “The Last Great Colosseum” in what was a breakout season.
The Marietta, Georgia teenager heads back to Bristol with loads of confidence after his strong run one year ago. He is ready to return to east Tennessee and try to climb two steps up the podium and win the famed sword.
“I have a lot of confidence going into Bristol this year,” Heim told Speed51.com. “I think we’re going to be really, really good. We have a fairly new car that we’re bringing to Bristol and my crew chief Matt Drake will bring a really good setup. The goal is to win, but we have all the confidence in the world from our third-place finish last year.”
His last couple Late Model starts have seen promising runs go bad. Heim dominated en route to a win at Richmond Raceway during the PASS Commonwealth Classic, only to be disqualified with an engine violation. He was also competing for the lead late in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour Old North State Nationals at Orange County Speedway and the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway with the PASS National Series, before incidents took him out of the running.
Heim is confident he will have the car capable of going to victory lane, and he believes it will come down to his performance behind the wheel to determine how the weekend goes.
“The last two Late Model runs have been a little rough,” he said. “Mistakes on my part and missing the setup a little bit. For the most part, it’s been driver error, so this weekend will be pretty much all on me. We’re going to come with a setup that we know can win the race and it’s pretty much all in my hands at that point and I’m really confident that’s the way it’s going to be. It gives me confidence that I know what’s under the car and that it’s going to be really good for when we go to Bristol, so it puts a little pressure on me because it puts all of it in my hands, but at the same time I’m really confident.”
Heim learned quite a bit from his starts in both the Super and Pro Late Model portion of the Short Track U.S. Nationals one year ago. Added to that, he has since competed on similar tracks like Winchester, and most recently, Salem in April. He believes what he has learned in those starts will translate to success next weekend.
“Keeping your momentum and restarts are huge at that track,” he said. “You have a bad restart and you get passed by six cars. If you drive it in too deep, you pretty much wreck all the time, no matter what with the way we set up that car. It’s definitely one of the weirdest tracks I’ve ever been to because you pretty much use no brakes and you’re hauling the mail at that racetrack, but I definitely learned a lot from the first time running that banking and that fast before.
“I’ve raced a couple tracks like that,” he continued. “I’ve raced at Salem, that’s really high banked with high speeds, so I took a couple notes from there and we’ll use them at Bristol as well. We’ve ran a lot since we were there last year and I believe we’ll come back stronger.”
After a dominating win at another NASCAR track at the end of March was stripped away from him in post-race tech, he has shifted his focus to Bristol. It would mean a lot to him if he were to have a similar performance at Bristol next weekend.
“It would mean a lot to win at Bristol,” he said. “I believe the whole Richmond deal, we would’ve won no matter what considering what we got disqualified for was really worth five horsepower less, which is what pretty much everybody agrees with at this point. I don’t think we’ll need five horsepower to win at Bristol either, I think we got a good enough setup to win there and I think everyone knows we’re going to be there as soon as we get there. We were really strong last year and I can guarantee that we’ll be strong there again this year.”
The 3rd Annual Short Track U.S. Nationals will take place Saturday, June 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Race fans unable to make the trip to Bristol, Tennessee will be able to watch all of the racing live via a pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Click here to order you pay-per-view video ticket for $19.99 by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com