Corey Heim won the Interstate Batteries Monday Night Racing Pro Series’ Out of the Groove 200 at Pocono Raceway on Jan. 30, locking himself into the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Heim, who started from the pole in the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car, was in a tight fight for the lead between Bailey Turner, Adam Cabot and Chase Cabre all race long. Turner was in first place with less than 10 laps to go and held it through a couple of late restarts. However, Cabot, who was behind Turner much of that time, attempted to pass Turner on the last lap. Heim pushed Turner, causing Cabot to lose the draft and fall back a little bit.
Heim then took advantage and moved to the bottom below Turner, passing him for the lead coming off the final turn.
Turner placed second, Cabot was third, Cabre finished fourth and Watkins Glen International winner Sage Karam rounded out the top five.
Other playoff drivers still in contention were Joey Padgett in ninth, Ryan Vargas in 17th, Presley Sorah in 23rd, Leighton Sibille in 32nd and Matt Stallknecht in 35th. Sibille was running in the front half of the pack, but ended up getting turned on the frontstretch and hit the inside wall.
Polesitter Heim held first place until the first caution on lap 22. Just before the caution, Matt Stallknecht hit the wall and saved it on the frontstretch. He then pitted on lap 21 with DJ Cummings and Ronnie Osmer.
The yellow flag waved the next lap when David Schildhouse also hit the wall and went sideways, eventually saving it without further harm done. Stallknecht decided to pit again during this caution for repairs, while most of the field got fuel and tires. Heim had a little bit of trouble on pit road, as he over shot his box.
Though Osmer restarted in front on lap 26, the lead was short lived; Adam Cabot got by him two laps later.
Right after Cabot grabbed the lead, Steven Ellis got turned down into the inside wall on the front straightaway off of contact from George Balfanz Jr.
As the saying goes, cautions breed cautions. Shortly after the race went back to green, Presley Sorah got spun down off of turn 2 and skidded near the inside wall. Ford Martin made an evasive maneuver below Sorah, but ended up wrecking himself.
Then the battle for the lead heated up between Cabot and Chase Cabre. The pair swapped positions several times before eventually settling down, with Cabre falling back to fourth place behind Bailey Turner and Heim.
For the next several laps, green flag pit stops went underway, starting off with Osmer with 28 to go. Two laps later, Turner, Heim, Stallknecht and several others pitted, with Stallknecht getting black-flagged for speeding.
Cabot made his pit stop with about 24 laps left; others pitted in the following laps, while Mark Rebilas stayed out until about 15 laps to go.
Then Turner, Heim, Cabot and Cabre battled for first place after the next three restarts, with Heim eventually coming out on top, securing his spot in the championship event at Homestead.
Next up, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series vehicles will be on the virtual Chicagoland Speedway. Coverage is slated to kick off on Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on Podium eSports’ Twitch and Frontstretch’s YouTube channel.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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