Corey Heim made his debut at the Snowball Derby by finishing eighth as a 15-year-old in the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race. One year older and one year wiser, the Marietta, Georgia native is heading back to Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway with his eyes on two possible victories in Late Model racing’s biggest weekend.
The Fab Specialties driver will be the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 for the second year in a row, and he’ll also be attempting to make his Snowball Derby debut in the 51stAnnual Snowball Derby on Sunday, December 2nd.
“I don’t see why we can’t win both races,” Heim said. “We have great cars. I think we’ll be well-prepared. As long as I give good feedback to my crew chief and learn the place quickly I don’t see why we can’t win both races.”
If Heim is able to pull off even one victory in either of those two races, he’ll have to end a trend of less-than-stellar runs at the challenging half-mile oval. In four Southern Super Series races at Five Flags this season, Heim’s best run was an eighth-place result. His other three finishes were 14th, 13th, and 17th.
The 16-year-old driver doesn’t feel that he and his team have really struggled, but he instead he thinks the other drivers simply have more experience at Five Flags.
“I think part of the reason is just that some people that race at Five Flags have raced there for more than 10 years. I think that track is easy to learn but really hard to master if that makes sense. I don’t think I’ve quite mastered it yet. In the Super there’s little tricks that I haven’t figured out yet. I think we’ve improved a lot this year, especially from the first race we ran this year.”
As far as running double-duty is concerned, Heim said there’s two major challenges that he will face. The first challenge comes in the form of physical fitness.
“We’ve had a few races this year where we did double-duty. I think I have enough energy to do it, but I’ve never done so many laps in one weekend before so it might be a lot on my body.”
The other challenge is a mental challenge. Heim said the most important thing for him to remember is which car he is sitting in when he’s on the race track since a Super and Pro Late Model drive very differently.
“I just need to not confuse the cars,” he said. “The Super is all about getting your speed up off the turns. The Pro is about momentum. I kind of have the thought process of ‘Okay I’m in the momentum car now.’ Then when I’m in the Super I have to remember what that’s about. You just have to drive the cars with different driving styles and change the line around a lot. As long as I can keep my head straight and not confuse the cars I think I’ll be good. It’s going to be a mental game all weekend.”
Heim said he is confident that his crew chief, Matt Drake, will give him two cars that are fast off the hauler. He said that as long as able to remember which car he’s in, he should be there at the end of each race to fight for the win.
Being there at the end is something that Heim has proven he is good at, but in a different type of Late Model. Heim has three Late Model Stock Car starts under his belt in Virginia this year. He crossed the finish line first in two of those three at South Boston Speedway, but he had the victories taken away in post-race technical inspection. In the third race, Heim finished second in a controversial finish at Martinsville Speedway.
If Heim ends up in victory lane in Pensacola in either race, it would be the biggest moment of his young career.
“That race of all races to win would be something that I’d never forget. It would mean a ton to me to win either of those races. Hopefully we can win both of them.”
The Snowball Derby will take place on Wednesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. For more information regarding the event, visit Snowball Central presented by Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com