Corey Heim is the Interstate Batteries Monday Night Racing Pro Series champion after winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway Feb. 12.
Heim, who started on the pole in the GridRival MNR Season Six Championship, overcame a pass-through penalty at the start and survived late restarts to claim his first series title.
His NASCAR Xfinity Series car took the lead from Leighton Sibille shortly after a restart with 10 laps to go and held off everyone en route to the race victory.
“From pitting on the first lap, that was a huge penalty for me, but we made up like 10 seconds,” Heim told the Podium eSports broadcast after the race. “At the end of the day I felt like we were the best car. If we had started on the pole like we qualified, I felt like would have had a 10-second lead, if not more before that last caution came out. Did a lot of prep work … Really, really fun race tonight, that combination was really fun. Kind of learned a lot throughout the week how to race this racetrack. Typically I’m not very good at Homestead but did some studying and it paid off.”
Adam Cabot, who appeared to be on his way to the win until the caution flew with less than 40 laps to go, finished third behind Heim and David Schildhouse. Bailey Turner was fourth and Collin Fern rounded out the top five.
Sibille finished sixth in the race and third in points, while Chase Cabre wound up fourth in points and 10th in the race after late contact with Anthony Alfredo.
Update as of 12:27 a.m. ET: After the race, Monday Night Racing issued a statement about an incident around lap 38 involving Will Rodgers and Dakotah Curtis. MNR is reviewing the incident that “(resulted) in potentially benefiting fellow championship-eligible teammates of the (No.) 25 of Leighton Sibille and the (No.) 51 of Corey Heim.
“We are looking into the issue, as we at MNR do not tolerate race manipulation.”
Corey Heim began on the pole but had to perform a pass-through after the start of the race due to his on-track actions with David Schildhouse last week at Chicagoland Speedway. Heim came out of pit lane about halfway through the field, well behind the other three title contenders.
Alfredo inherited the lead from Heim and led for much of the first 50 laps, while David Schildhouse moved up to second. Behind them, Adam Cabot and Chase Cabre had their own battle for the championship lead. Cabot eventually cleared Cabre on lap 37 for third place in the race.
Shortly after, Leighton Sibille mimicked his pit strategy from last week, pitting on lap 42 before the other championship drivers. At Homestead, though, the plan is a bit different since the tires wear a bit more there than at other tracks.
By the time the pit cycle completed, Cabot got to the race lead over Schildhouse, Alfredo, Cabre and Sibille.
The top four stayed in front for the next pit cycle, and though Sibille’s pit stop got him out ahead of the others, his tires wore down fast, allowing Cabot and Cabre to get by him once again.
Throughout the race, Heim displayed great speed on the track, as he made up several positions from the 20s into the teens. By about halfway, he was up to ninth and then passed Sibille for seventh after a car ahead of them pitted. Heim remained there through the green flag run, behind fellow title battlers Cabot in first and Cabre in fourth place.
After another set of green flag pit stops, Cabot got to the race lead over Collin Fern with about 40 laps left. Then two laps later, the caution flag waved for the first time for an incident involving Will Rodgers and Dakotah Curtis. Rodgers tried to get under Curtis on the bottom and got tagged by Curtis, spinning Rodgers around.
The race went back to green with Cabot once again out front over Alfredo, Cabre and Heim. It stayed green for about 12 laps or so, as the caution came once again after Fern got into season five champion Presley Sorah. Sorah spun around and was able to keep going, but the field was already slowed down under yellow flag conditions.
Sibille stayed out while everyone else pitted.
And just as the race went back underway, mayhem ensued after contact between Joey Padgett and Sorah. It was the Big One, collecting a bunch of cars behind the frontrunners.
There were just 10 laps to go on the next restart with Sibille in first. However, the older tires caught up with him, as Heim got by him for the lead. Alfredo took second place, while Sibille dropped several positions. But before long, another caution came out for Sorah, who couldn’t avoid the trouble in front of him and hit the inside wall hard.
Sibille finally pitted, and restarted further back in the field. When the green flag waved, Alfredo and Heim appeared to have made slight contact with each other, causing Alfredo to slid down into Cabre. This caused yet another big wreck and set things up for an overtime finish.
Heim and Cabot restarted on the front row, but Schildhouse got by Cabot to take second place in the season finale. Schildhouse’s rival Heim was well ahead of the battle and went on to take the MNR championship.
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.
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.