Caleb Heady had never seen South Boston Speedway in person prior to last year’s SMART Modified Tour powered by Pace-O-Matic event at the .4-mile oval. So, like a lot of racers, he attempted to familiarize himself with the track prior to the event using the iRacing simulation.
“It’s kind of funny,” Heady remarked.
“Going into the South Boston race last year I told everybody I absolutely suck at that place in iRacing. I am probably the worst South Boston Speedway driver on iRacing you will ever meet. As soon as we got there, we figured it out. It clicked.”
Click it did. The Shelbyville, Kentucky resident, driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing, finished third in last year’s 99-lap race.
“South Boston Speedway kind of took me by surprise last year,” Heady said.
“The place is crazy fast. It was really fun, really racy, and just a good overall time. I’m very excited to go back. It’s a track with a lot of grip and it’s a fast track. That’s the kind of place where I like to be.”
Heady is excited about returning to South Boston Speedway for The Flying VA Classic, a 99-lap race for the SMART Modified Tour, that headlines the URW Credit Union Fools Rush 262 racing program on Saturday afternoon, April 1 at South Boston Speedway.
He finished second in the season-opener at Florence (South Carolina) Motor Speedway and is looking to rebound from a 15th-place finish in last week’s race at Caraway Speedway.
“It’s definitely a track I look forward to,” Heady said.
“South Boston Speedway is an extremely fast racetrack. I really can’t get over how we got around that track for qualifying last year. It was pretty insane the speed we were able to carry into the corners and how much power we could get down on exit. It plays out to my cards pretty well.”
The Kentucky native is confident about his chances heading into Saturday’s event.
“I know as long as I keep the car beneath me and I set myself up right I can compete with just about anybody in the field,” explained Heady.
“It’s playing chess, not checkers. You have to set yourself up for the end of the race, make sure all of the boxes are checked and that you’ve got the best car you can possibly have to go win the race at the end.”
Heady, who has two career race wins and one career pole win on the SMART Modified Tour, entered the 2023 season as the defending series champion. In winning last year’s SMART Modified Tour title, he helped Tommy Baldwin Racing win its third championship of the 2022 season.
“Last year’s championship came as kind of a surprise to us,” Heady pointed out.
“It was our first time trying win the season championship. To be able to win it in our first time trying was really cool.
“It takes consistency to win championships,” he continued.
“Last year I got only one win on the tour. I know if we continue our consistent runs, we will be fine. This year I want at least two or three wins on the year, have some good races, put up some good performances, and try to distance myself and show people I am ready to step up and move up.”
The list of Smart Stars that have filed early entries for Saturday’s event at South Boston Speedway includes current series points leader and last week’s winner at Caraway Speedway, Brandon Ward, former NASCAR Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte, Matt Hirschman, who won last year’s South Boston Speedway race and scored 28 wins overall last season, and Burt and Jason Myers.