Georgia driver Corey Heim, who cut his racing teeth on the flat quarter-mile track located on the frontstretch of Atlanta Motor Speedway, was victorious in his first-ever start on the 1.54-mile oval in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fr8 208. The 19-year-old driver executed a last-lap pass on his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate Chandler Smith and then beat runner-up finisher Ty Majeski to the finish line by 0.173 seconds to pick up the win in just his fifth career Truck Series start.
Heim and Smith would battle for the lead over the final 27 laps of the race. Coming to the white flag in second, Heim made a move to the inside of Smith as the field entered Turn 1. As they exited Turn 2, Heim with a push from KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek was able to clear Smith and then held off a late surge from Majeski to pick up the sentimental win.
Stage One Recap:
- Heim started the Fr8 208 from the 19th-position after Saturday’s lineup was decided by NASCAR’s performance matrix system.
- As the field took the green flag, Heim dropped back to 26th but would quickly make his way back up into the Top-20 by lap seven.
- On lap 14, Heim communicated to his No. 51 team that his JBL Tundra TRD Pro “needed to tighten up a little bit”.
- As the field took the green-and-white checkered flag to end the opening stanza, Heim would be scored 20th.
Stage Two Recap:
- Heim brought his No. 51 JBL Tundra TRD Pro down pit road at the stage break for four tires and fuel, gaining one position and restarting the second stage in 19th.
- Just nine laps into the second stage, Heim gained seven spots and moved up into 12th as the top lane made a run in the draft.
- During the caution on lap 55, Heim communicated that his No. 51 Tundra was “a little hot in single file and needed to cool down the water”.
- The second stanza would ultimately end under caution with Heim and the No. 51 team sitting in 11th-position.
Final Stage Recap:
- The No. 51 team gained four spots on pit road after stage two, sending Heim back out onto the track in seventh place as the first six trucks elected to stay out on the track during the stage break.
- A three-truck incident in Turn 3 would bring out the fourth caution of the day on lap 69 with Heim scored in the fourth position.
- Following the restart on lap 79, Heim communicated that he was “perfectly happy” with his No. 51 Tundra. Just six laps later, the 19-year-old driver took his first lead of the race from the No. 17 truck of Ryan Preece.
- Heim held onto the lead for the next 13-laps before Thor Sport Racing driver Ben Rhodes took over the lead on lap 98.
- A single truck incident in Turn 3 brought out the seventh and final caution of the race. As the field came to the choose line, Heim selected the bottom lane and would line up on the front row next to the No. 99 of Rhodes.
- The choice paid off as Heim took the lead once again on lap 108 with a push from Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, Chandler Smith.
- Heim forfeited the lead to Chandler Smith on lap 115 and would ride in second for the next 20 laps of the race.
- After taking the white flag in second, Heim made a move to the inside of Smith as the field went into Turn 1. Heim would clear the No. 18 on the backstretch and held off Thor Sport Racing driver Ty Majeski as he took the checkered flag in first, claiming his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win.
Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 JBL Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
Can you take us through that final run?
“First off, my crew chief Marty Lindley put me in a perfect spot. We were running in the 20s for most of the race to try to stay safe. I knew strategy was going to have to take us to the front. Marty did a great job so did my whole KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) No. 51 JBL Tundra TRD Pro crew. Just such a phenomenal job by these guys. They really helped me at the end.”
How special is this for you to win in your home race?
“It’s super special. I’ve been in victory lane here a bunch of times as a kid racing Bandoleros. It was such a dream to come back here and win race. It’s surreal. It hasn’t sunk in. Just unbelievable to be here.”
Fr8 208 Recap:
- Corey Heim picked up the first win of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski, Chandler Smith, and Zane Smith rounded out the Top-5 finishers.
- There were 7 cautions for 40 laps. There were 10 lead changes among 10 drivers, including Heim who led 22 laps.
How Heim’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 4th.
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 24th.
Camping World Trucks Owner’s Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team is currently 6th in the Owner’s Championship standings and 32 points out of first place. With today’s win, the No. 51 team has accumulated five playoff points.
Driver-Owner Kyle Busch will make his second Camping World Truck Series start of the season behind the wheel of the No. 51 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro at The Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, March 26. Live coverage of the XPEL 225 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1 p.m. ET.