Corey Heim gets first career NASCAR Truck win at Atlanta
Corey Heim got an assist from one teammate to defeat another and earn his first NASCAR Truck Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
As the race drew to a close, Chandler Smith was leading the way with Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Corey Heim behind him and fellow teammate John Hunter Nemechek third in line but two laps down.
On the last of 135 laps, Heim dove to the inside of Smith and with the help of a shove from Nemechek, he cleared for the lead and held off Ben Rhodes for his first career Truck Series win.
Saturday’s race was the first held on the newly repaved and reconfigured Atlanta track, which featured racing usually seen at the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega.
“That was awesome,” said Heim, 19. “We just put ourselves in the right place at the right time. Our truck was amazing today.
“As long as one KBM truck won, that was all that mattered. (Chandler Smith) did an awesome job defending for most of the race then (Nemechek) stuck with me when it mattered the most. Credit to John Hunter Nemechek for helping me out there.
“It’s just surreal and awesome.”
Ty Majeski finished third, Chandler Smith ended up fourth and Zane Smith rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 were Friesen, Ryan Preece, Tanner Gray, Derek Kraus and Austin Wayne Self.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most of the lead-lap trucks pit but Friesen stayed on the track and inherited the lead.
On the restart on Lap 67, Friesen was followed by Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Carson Hocevar and Kraus.
Enfinger quickly powered to the lead shortly after restart.
On Lap 68, Dean Thompson drifted up the track and into Christian Eckes in Turn 4 to trigger a multi-truck accident that also collected Lawless Alan, Colby Howard and Jack Wood.
On the restart on Lap 76, Enfinger was followed by Friesen, Rhodes, Heim and Hocevar.
Tate Fogleman spun on the backstretch after contact from Jordan Anderson to bring out a caution on Lap 80.
Most of the lead-lap trucks elected to pit but Preece stayed out and inherited the lead. Enfinger ran over his air hose during his stop and had to restart the race from the rear of the field.
When the race restarted on Lap 85, Preece led the way followed by Zane Smith and Heim.
Heim got a shove into the lead shortly after the restart.
On Lap 91, Gray got into Anderson in an incident that also collected Fogleman to bring out the sixth caution of the race.
The race returned to green on Lap 98 with Heim still out front.
Rhodes quickly made his way into the lead on the restart.
Kris Wright blew a tire and hit the wall on Lap 100 to bring out another caution. Rhodes remained in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 107.
With 28 laps remaining, Heim got a shove back to the lead from Rhodes, who moved into second and Chandler Smith third.
Chandler Smith moved into the lead with 20 laps remaining as Heim ran second and Friesen third.
With 10 laps to go, Chandler Smith maintained a small lead over Heim as Friesen remained in third.
With five laps remaining, Nemechek, now two laps down, joined the field in line behind Chandler Smith and Heim, hoping to ensure the KBM teammates decide the race win amongst themselves.
After grabbing the lead with one lap to go, Nemechek clinched the Stage 2 win when caution was displayed on the final lap for debris.
Ty Majeski was second, Eckes third, Chandler Smith fourth and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, the lead-lap trucks all pit with Eckes the first off pit road. Chase Purdy and Brennan Poole were both penalized for speeding and had to restart the race from the rear of the field.
On the restart on Lap 38, Eckes was followed by Crafton and Friesen.
Friesen powered back to the lead on the restart with a push from Nemechek.
On Lap 46, Blaine Perkins hit the wall but was able to continue without the need for a caution.
NASCAR was forced to display a caution on Lap 51 for debris on the frontstretch. Only a handful of drivers elected to pit but Friesen was among them.
When the race resumed on Lap 56, Nemechek – who stayed out – led the way followed by Eckes and Crafton.
Friesen held off a wild last-lap charge from Enfinger to take the Stage 1 win, his first stage victory since October 2020.
Kraus was third, Eckes was fourth and Crafton rounded out the top-five.
Chandler Smith started on the pole but Friesen quickly moved into the lead after the start as Matt DiBenedetto hit the wall and was forced to pit under green.
With 20 laps to go in the stage, Friesen held a small lead over Enfinger with Hocevar in third.
With five laps remaining, Friesen maintained a slight advantage over Enfinger as Krause moved up to third.
Five drivers – Anderson, Purdy, Thad Moffitt, Majeski and Nemechek – had to start the race from the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments.
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