Before Saturday night at South Boston Speedway (VA), Corey Heim had not raced a Late Model Stock Car. Now, he is a two-time winner at one of the discipline’s most historic and competitive tracks.
Heim swept the twin-75 lap features for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Cars at the 0.400-mile oval, beating some of the best in the business to do so.
“I can’t thank my Lee Pulliam Performance guys enough,” Heim told Speed51.com after his sweep. “This car was perfect all night long from the drop of the green flag to the checkered. It was hooked up. I could get on the gas in the middle of the corners, slide up to the wall with all the momentum.”
The wins marked the Marietta, Georgia 16-year-old’s first victories in a full-bodied stock car, after enjoying considerable success in the Legend car ranks. It also came on a night when Heim competed for the win in the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model 150-lap feature before finishing fourth.
“I’ve never won a stock car race before,” Heim said. “It feels amazing to be here in victory lane. Almost had a clean sweep with the Super, but I’m so grateful for everyone on the team.”
In the first race, Heim went mano a mano with four-time national champion Philip Morris for the win, before Morris eventually spun in turn four.
“It was crazy running with [Morris],” Heim said after the first race. “I’ve run with a lot of aggressive people and he’s aggressive in a really good way. He’s going for a track championship, I completely understand. It’s a shame his race had to end like that. I didn’t mean to do him dirty like that, if I did. I haven’t seen a replay or anything.”
“Either he got in too hard and washed up into me, or he came up there and found me, I don’t know,” Morris said. “I just know he was in the left-front tire and knocked me into the marbles. I couldn’t really go after that.
“I was getting ready to go back around him, enough for five laps anyways,” Morris added. “He came up top and found where I was at, and we ran out of real estate.”
For Heim, the pair of wins against the likes of Morris and Peyton Sellers gives him confidence moving forward. Heim plans to enter Late Model Stock racing’s crown jewel, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, later this year.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Heim said. “It’s my first time here and as soon as we unloaded the car, we were really fast. We were probably top-five right out of the trailer. I struggled a little bit with practice but figured it out in the race. To beat those two guys who are some of the best in the business, it’s a great feeling. It gives me a lot of confidence.”
After 300 laps of racing on a humid August evening in Virginia, however, Heim was ready for some shut-eye.
“I’m very exhausted,” Heim admitted. “I’m about to go lay down in the truck and fall asleep for 24 hours, at least.
“I feel better now than I did after the Super race,” Heim added. “That was a tough race, and it was really hot in that car. I drank a ton of water, rehydrated, and felt good about it. It was a pretty exhausting day.”
The results from Saturday’s South Boston Late Model Stock features have not been declared official. Per a report by Race22.com, the rear end from Heim’s entry will be inspected at the NASCAR R&D Center in Charlotte, North Carolina after failing preliminary inspection at the track.
-By: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com