Corey Heim ready for dirt redemption on the DuQuoin dirt

DUQUOIN, Ill.: After an impressive performance in his debut on the dirt in the ARCA Menards Series earlier this month at the famed Illinois State Fairgrounds, an intense restart saw Corey Heim’s potentially first career ARCA win sputter from second to seventh when the checkered flag waved.

Having the opportunity to dissect the Allen Crowe 100, Heim has dusted off the dirt and is refocused for Saturday night’s Southern Illinois 100 at the historic DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds.

“We were so close,” said Heim. “I know things got very interesting and bumpers were used late at Springfield and I’m sure if roles were reversed, I would have done the same thing – but our finish wasn’t any indication of our performance throughout the race and that’s frustrating for me as a driver – because I don’t settle for anything less than perfection.

“At Springfield, we were almost perfect. “He (Michael Self) was down on the inside and he pushed me up the track and used me up. I got up into the loose dirt and gave up a lot of spots. It’s disappointing to go from second to seventh but that’s part of racing for the win.”

Heim isn’t having to do much to prepare for his 11th career ARCA start and second on the dirt, other than learning from the closing laps of Springfield and hoping to lead more than a season-high 11 laps two weeks ago.

“I’m pumped to get back to the race track, dirt or not,” added Heim. “I don’t have a lot of ARCA Menards Series starts left this season, so it’s important for me to make most of these last couple starts at DuQuoin, Salem and Lucas Oil.

“We’re bringing the same car we ran at Springfield and I hope that will play into our hands since I’m familiar with the car and how it felt on the dirt. Having the opportunity to race at night compared to the day will certainly present its potential challenges, but I don’t think its anything that myself and my crew chief Paul Andrews can’t overcome.

“I’m just ready to win.”

Heim’s limited ARCA stint with the Mooresville, N.C.-based team has been impressive. Having never seen much of the tracks he’s visited this season; the teenager has shined. In 10 starts, Heim has delivered five top-five and nine top-10s finishes, including a career-best fourth twice at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and the 2.5-mile speedway of Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

“Chad (Bryant) and Paul (Andrews) have made sure that we’re going to the track fully prepared to win. I’ve had great race cars all year long. I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve learned for them and I feel that has made me a better job in the second half of the season and I think that’s shown with our on-track performances.

“Hopefully we can go to DuQuoin and win. My 2019 in the ARCA series certainly hasn’t given me any breaks, so I’m hoping we leave with a finish that my team and I deserve. If not, I’ll try again at Salem and then at Lucas Oil. I can’t believe how fast the year has gone, but it’s not over yet.”

Andrews, a former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship crew chief is upbeat about DuQuoin too.

Our performance at Springfield was great, end result was disappointing but that’s racing, now it’s time to move on to DuQuoin with a lot of momentum,” offered Andrews.

“Now that Corey’s has dirt experience and knows a little of what to expect we should be better yet. Everyone at Chad Bryant Racing loves DuQuoin and have come close to victory several times, hopefully, we can do it with Corey on Saturday night!”

For more on Corey Heim, please like him on Facebook (Corey Heim Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@corey.heim) and Twitter (@coreyheim3).

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

The Southern Illinois 100 (100 laps | 100 miles) is the 17th of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Sat. Aug. 31 with an hour practice session planned from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for shortly thereafter at 5:30 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 8:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities. All times are local (Central).

ARCA Menards Series Rookie Corey Heim Reloaded for Another Run at ARCA Dirt Track Victory at DuQuoin

With two miles to go in the Allen Crowe 100 at Springfield, it looked like Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) was sitting pretty. He was in second place, right alongside leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) as the field was readying for a two-lap dash to the checkered flag. When the green waved, Self took off and Heim stayed right with him through turns one and two and down the backstretch of the one-mile dirt oval.

But turns three and four is where it all went awry for the seventeen-year-old Marietta, Georgia native.

Self pushed him up the track. Just like a paved track where loose rubber accumulates throughout the race, the upper groove of a dirt track is covered in loose dirt from the course of the race. Heim went sliding through 100 miles worth of loose dirt, and as he fought for traction and control he dropped from second to seventh.

The fact he was second with a couple of laps to go belied Heim’s dirt track experience level. The race at Springfield was the first time in Heim’s racing career he had ever been on dirt.

His ninth top-ten finish in ten career ARCA Menards Series starts was a consolation prize of sorts, but Heim was still disappointed with the result.

“He did what I would have done,” Heim said. “He was down on the inside and he pushed me up the track and used me up. I got up into the loose dirt and gave up a lot of spots. It’s disappointing to go from second to seventh but that’s part of racing for the win.”

Heim won’t have to wait long to reload and try for his first career series victory. When the ARCA Menards Series goes green in the Southern Illinois 100, he’ll also have another chance at scoring a win on dirt as the series makes is second appearance on dirt with a traditional Labor Day weekend stop at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. With a stock car history that dates back to the 1950s and ARCA’s history at the one-mile oval dating back to 1983, Heim would like to add his name to a list of winners that includes Jerry Unser, Don White, A.J. Foyt, Rusty Wallace, and Tony Stewart.

It’s a lofty goal for a young man who only has a couple seasons of stock car racing experience under his belt.

“We’re going to DuQuoin to win,” added Heim. “I’m putting pressure on myself to win and finish what we started at Springfield. Paul (Andrews, crew chief) and the entire Chad Bryant Racing team have worked hard to bring me fast, competitive cars no matter what type of track we’re competing at.

“I learned a lot at Springfield and even though DuQuoin will be run at night, I’m hopeful that what I learned a couple weeks can be applied to Saturday night and it will bring Chad Bryant Racing another checkered flag this season.”

For the vast majority of its existence, the Southern Illinois 100 has been run under the often-intense southern Illinois sun. The heat and humidity, mixed with the often dusty track surface as a result, made the DuQuoin race one of the most challenging on drivers and demanding on equipment throughout the entire season. For the second time in the race’s history it will be run under the lights on the Magic Mile, and for the first time in the event’s history, it will be run on a Saturday night. As the opening race of a two-day race weekend – Sunday’s traditional USAC Silver Crown Series race remains unchanged – track conditions should be vastly different than year’s past. It will be cooler, and the track’s surface will not have any rubber worked into it when the ARCA Menards Series takes to the track.

Those differences will create enough of an unknown that it should level the playing field even more for Heim as he continues to gain dirt track experience.

“I’m really not sure what to expect with the track conditions especially practicing and qualifying during the day and racing at night,” added Heim. “I expect the handling of our race car will change, so I’ll be leaning on Paul (Andrews) to make the right adjustments and I know he’ll expect me to do everything I can to keep ourselves in contention.

“I only have three ARCA Menards Series races left this season and I’d like to win all three of them if I can, but it’s going to take perfect execution and making sure we don’t stumble when the opportunity is there for the taking.”

The Southern Illinois 100 on the Magic Mile at the DuQuoin State Fair is set for Saturday night August 31. Practice starts at 2:30 pm CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 5:30 pm CT, and the race will go green shortly after 8 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates for registered users.