Race Weekend Central

Corey Heim Sweeps ARCA Superspeedways, Wins at Talladega

Venturini Motorsports knows how to win at superspeedways. It swept the superspeedways last year at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

This year, it swept both as Corey Heim won at Daytona and on Saturday (April 24), he won the General Tire 200 at Talladega. It is Heim’s second win this year and his third in his ARCA Menards Series career.

“We put ourselves in the perfect spot there in the end,” Heim told FS1 via radio as he drove his No. 20 celebrating on the frontstretch. “Drew Dollar, man, I can’t say enough about him. Just an awesome teammate; we worked together perfect today and found ourselves back there [in victory lane].”

Competing full-time this year after running part-time the past two years, Heim is on a roll. He has finishes of first, second, and first this season.

Next up on the ARCA schedule? Kansas Speedway, where Heim scored his first ARCA win last year in the season finale.

Heim made the race-winning pass on a final one-lap shootout to end this race after it was filled with some hard hits in the closing stages.

65-year-old Dave Mader III finished second, his first top five finish since the second race at Talladega in 1991. His runner-up finish also comes with historical significance in the wake of the recent passing of Charlie Glotzbach.

Rookie Nick Sanchez finished a career-best third, albeit after making his spotter Tyler Green unhappy.

Last year’s winner Dollar finished fourth, the second Venturini driver inside the top five.

Reigning champion Bret Holmes finished fifth after he led the field to the final one-lap shootout to end this race.

The first race of the Talladega doubleheader was relatively calm, as the first two yellow flags were for competition cautions. Holmes led the field to the first competition caution at lap 10, which was decided after the lone practice session was canceled in the morning due to precipitation. At the scheduled halfway break on lap 38, Dollar led the field as he sought to repeat at Talladega.

When the field crossed the finish line to signal 20 to go, the intensity level ramped up. First, Dollar made contact with Sanchez as the field passed the lapped car driven by Benny Chastain.

Then, on lap 62, Sanchez attempted to bump draft Greg Van Alst. Instead, the bump draft sent Van Alst to the inside lane, hitting the ARCA most recent winner Ty Gibbs with John Ferrier also involved in the crash. The damage to Gibbs and Van Alst’s cars were terminal.

“I didn’t really see too much, just frustrated with what happened,” Gibbs told FS1 after he was released from the infield care center. “It’s hard to control stuff. We just got wrecked there, not much you could do. All these people are trying to get experience and someone made a mistake.

“We’ll move on. These are the days that’ll make me better on how I’ll handle this stuff. I want to win and we’ll go race at Kansas [Speedway] and that’ll be fun.”

As a consolation for his career-worst ARCA finish (27th), Gibbs and his NASCAR Hall of Fame grandfather Joe Gibbs headed to play golf.

After ensuring Gibbs was physically fine after the wreck, Van Alst was surprisingly upbeat after his second DNF in his part-time return to ARCA this year after last competing in three races in 2002.

“Anytime you’re a small team like us and you’re fighting for the lead, it’s got to be a good day,” Van Alst told FS1 after he spoke to Gibbs. “Our car from Daytona we wrecked. Our three-person shop put it back together and we’re back here racing at Talladega. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the finish, but we got lots of TV time and everyone knew we were here.

“I asked him [Gibbs] what happened cause there was nothing out of my windshield and I felt like I was holding a straight wheel,” Van Alst added. “Next thing I knew, I was sideways. I guess that’s part of restrictor-plate racing. I’ll have to watch the replay.”

With five to go though, after a strong run, following contact from Heim after he received a bump draft from Dollar, Derrick Lancaster slammed into the outside wall and his No. 29 Toyota burst into flames.

Lancaster walked away from his car, though he was put on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital.

For Lancaster, it was his second massive crash in his racing career.

Alas, when the checkered flag flew, Heim became the first two-time winner this ARCA season, and it adds to his impressive year in which he was recently announced to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Darlington Raceway with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

ARCA Talladega Results

The ARCA Menards Series is back in action next Saturday (May 1) at Kansas Speedway for the Dutch Boy 150.

About the author

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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Tom B

Why has Monster Energy taken there name off the #18 Ty Gibbs winning race car the last two races. This story is just as important as getting a new sponsor.

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