Before Saturday night, 16-year-old Corey Heim had never raced at South Boston Speedway.
In his track debut, he went toe to toe with the likes of four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Phillip Morris and South Boston points leader Peyton Sellers and came out on top.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Heim said. “I never would’ve came here with the expectation that I would win, racing against the [Nos.] 26 and 01, some of the best in the business.”
The wins marked the Marietta, Ga. native’s first ever win in a stock car, and it was the second time all year that someone other than Morris or Sellers won at the track. He did so in a car prepared by four-time NASCAR national champion Lee Pulliam.
“It’s such a legendary track, a lot of history here,” Heim said. “My car was perfect all night long.”
Sellers won the pole for the first race, but elected to start from the rear to try to maximize his passing points for track and national championship purposes.
Morris started first instead and jumped out to the early lead. Morris led all of the laps early, but he never pulled away from Corey Heim and Ryan Repko.
“It was loose…I couldn’t get in the gas up off,” Morris said. “I was able to just barely feather it up off.”
Sellers got up on the wheel immediately, passing 10 cars in the opening seven laps. 25 laps in, Sellers was up to the seventh position.
Morris got into heavy lapped traffic around the halfway mark of the race, but the rest of the field failed to take advantage of it. Morris soared through the traffic, while Heim and Repko were held up. Heim checked up and Repko got into his left rear quarter panel, nearing turning him. Repko used the move to move into second place.
The caution flag flew for the first time on lap 44 for debris on the track.
Repko gave Morris a good run on the restart using the inside line, but Morris eventually cleared him. Heim then slid back around Repko to reclaim second. With less than 20 to go, Heim began to pressure Morris. On lap 61, Heim got under Morris, but was unable to complete the pass.
Heim then tried the outside line, and when Morris blocked, he went low. Heim bumped Morris out of the way, but wasn’t able to get away.
Morris challenged Heim until the caution came out on lap 67 when Mike Darne hit the Turn 4 wall.
On the next restart, Heim and Morris battled through Turns 1 and 2 before Heim got loose and made contact with Morris, sending the No. 01 car spinning into the wall.
“It looked like he just lost it and just rode up into the left front tire,” Morris said. “From where I was sitting, I got run over.”
Heim was apologetic.
“I didn’t mean to do him dirty like that,” Heim said.
On the final restart, Heim broke out to the lead and gapped Repko for the easy win.
Repko finished second, and Sellers settled for the last step on the podium. Tyler Hughes and Thomas Scott rounded out the top five.
Morris finished three laps down in 16th, a huge dash to his championship hopes.
“It ain’t lookin too good [in the points battle],” Morris said. “We’re going to do the best we can.”
The results can be found below.
- Corey Heim
- Ryan Repko
- Peyton Sellers
- Tyler Hughes
- Thomas Scott
- Bruce Anderson
- Mike Looney
- Mike Jones
- Austin Thaxton
- Sam Mayer
- Camden Gullie
- Dusty Ellington
- Eric Winslow
- Raymond Pittman III
- Charles Barnes
- Phillip Morris
- Danny Willis Jr
- Mike Darne
- Quincy Adkins
- Nathan Crews
- Bruce Mayo
- Colin Garret