Since moving from Legend Cars up to Late Models and Stock Cars, Corey Heim’s schedule has only gotten busier. In his second full season in full size cars, Heim upped the ante after an impressive 2018, adding the ARCA Menards Series to a schedule already packed with Super Late Model and Late Model Stock Car action. The results: a much more experienced driver ready to take on his second Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway this December.
Also included in his busy schedule, the Marietta, Georgia young gun has managed three starts at Five Flags Speedway in 2019. The first being an impressive top-five finish in what was his debut on the ARCA Menards Series in March, before returning the for the final two Blizzard Series races in the ladder part of the season. Following a recent fall test, Heim is feeling plenty confident entering the big race.
“The year has gone by really fast for sure. It’s crazy we’re almost to the Derby, but it’s been a very long year,” Heim said. “We’re making a lot progress for Pensacola since the last time we raced down there back in September. We had our struggles down there, but we also had some bad luck with incidents and stuff. We went and tested there two weeks ago by ourselves and made a lot of improvements as far as qualifying speed goes, which is what we need to get in the Derby.”
Despite the differences in race cars, Heim’s 13 races in 2019 with Chad Bryant Racing in ARCA has helped expand the 17-year-old’s skill in many aspects. At the same time, he has also continued to gain a greater understanding on the Super Late Model front as well.
“Definitely been through a lot of new experiences this year, the whole ARCA deal I learned a lot about aero, pit stops, and stuff like that. ARCA has taught me a lot more than I could’ve ever thought about. That has been a good experience. I’ve also been learning even more about Super Late Models, and even Late Model Stocks; it’s all been a big help for my career.”
Ironically, the need to nail a hot pit stop will not be as great when the teams race on the Florida Panhandle on December 8, with the implementation of controlled pit stops. For Heim, it is one less thing for he and the No. 78 crew to concern themselves with.
“The pit stop deal is pretty interesting, there’s a lot of stuff going on about how pit stops effected the top three last year. Then again, you still had plenty of time to prepare; there’s two sides to that. But, it is nice to know that regardless of the circumstances, we’ll be going out of the pits in the same order which we came in.”
On the Super Late Model front, Heim comes in with confidence and some momentum, following a second-place finish in the grueling Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (IN) back in October. It is the latest stepping stone of improvement for the 78 camp, and Heim hopes the next step will be the river bank that is a Snowball Derby victory.
“For sure, my team has been getting a lot of help from other people, and we’ve been improving on every track we’ve been to since then. The runner-up at Winchester was really good, we knew we had the speed and endurance to run against those top dogs. Now, we just have to carry it over to Pensacola, and I know we can.”
Just as important, Heim also knows what it is like to run a full Snowball Derby weekend after making his first attempt in 2018. After celebrating the thrill of making the field on qualifying time, the race itself ended after Heim was caught up in a mid-race accident. Despite that, the Gerogia youngster is ready to build on what they started at Five Flags last year.
“That was also my first major race aside from the Rattler and the Winchester 400. But, the Snowball Derby is such a big event and there are so many people there. That was definitely a wakeup call for me. Our bad luck during the race took us out of contention, but I thought we had a decent car to compete with. We got into the show through qualifying. I think we can improve from there.”
As for a win in 2019, Heim knows it is a possibility. Should he win the day, it will be hard to find the words to describe such a feat.
“Aw man, I can’t even imagine it. There’s so many people there and paying attention, watching on Speed51. The trophy is awesome, the people are great, again can’t put it into words. It’s at the top of my list to win, but it’s going to be a lot of work to get there first.”
The 52nd Annual Snowball Derby will be held December 4-8 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51