Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: Kansas Becomes Another Corey Heim Clinic

In A Nutshell

It’s a general rule that when Corey Heim leads the most laps in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, he’s going to win. Not just win, but also go almost completely unopposed en route.

Heim took home an easy win at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night (May 4), his second of the season. The win is simultaneously a surprise and also not a surprise, as he led 79 of 134 laps and won stage one, but he came all the way from 13th to do so. Had Heim started a little further up front, he could have very well have led over 100 laps.

See also
Corey Heim Wins 2nd Truck Series Race of 2024 at Kansas

Heim, who will fill in for Erik Jones in the Cup Series No. 43 a second time on Sunday (May 5), likely gained some helpful knowledge in preparation for his second career Cup start.

The Top Truckers at Kansas Speedway

Winner, Stage 1 Winner, Most Laps Led (79 of 134 laps): Corey Heim
Polesitter: Chase Purdy
Stage 2 Winner: Zane Smith
Biggest Mover: Kaden Honeycutt (started 23rd, finished fourth)
Rookie of the Race: Layne Riggs

Top Storylines of the Race

  • Ty Majeski‘s race ended before it even began, as an apparent tire failure caused his No. 98 to smack the wall in turn 1 on lap 2. The resulting caution was the sole caution for cause the entire night.
  • Lawless Alan overshot his pit box during the caution for the end of stage two, hitting right front tire carrier Brandon Henry. Henry was checked and released from the care center and returned to Alan’s pit box. Coincidentally, the Reaume Brothers Racing No. 33 had a similar incident just last year. Memphis Villarreal hit tire carrier Cory Selig at Homestead-Miami Speedway, sending him to a nearby hospital – he was diagnosed with a cracked sternum and cracked ribs.
  • A special shoutout should go to Kaden Honeycutt, who started 23rd and surged all the way to a career-best fourth. Honeycutt found himself in a battle for the lead with Heim just before the final round of green flag pit stops. However, a slow trip in the pits caused him to lose a bunch of time to Heim.
  • Repco Supercars Championship driver Cam Waters made his return after crashing out late at Martinsville Speedway. He finished 19th, but not before having a run-in with rookie Layne Riggs on the final lap. The two made contact after Waters washed up the track trying to take 18th from Riggs. However, Riggs held on to the spot. When Waters went to apologize to Riggs after the race, the two engaged in a heated argument before crew members intervened and Waters walked away.
See also
Kaden Honeycutt Turns Heads in Career Day at Kansas

The Winning Move

There was no pass for the win, but rather better execution from Heim. As previously mentioned, Honeycutt had a really fast truck and was hounding Heim for the lead prior to the final round of green flag pit stops inside 40 laps to go.

Heim pitted one lap before Honeycutt did. When Honeycutt exited pit road, not only did he lose around three seconds to Heim, but he also lost second to Smith and third to Christian Eckes – though the latter wasn’t without some contact.

That allowed Heim to pull away for the win, but not without a late charge from Smith, who gained a second on Heim over the last three laps. However, Heim still hung on for the win by about a second.

Championship Rundown

Can you believe it the Truck Series regular season is now halfway over?

No one new locks into the playoffs, as Heim was already locked in by virtue of a win at Circuit of the Americas. Heim now joins Eckes as the only drivers with more than one win on the season. In doing so, he retakes the point lead from Eckes, now with a seven-point cushion over the No. 19. Currently, Heim, Eckes and Nick Sanchez are the only drivers within one race of taking the point lead, as everyone else is 60 or more points behind.

At the cut line, it’s Grant Enfinger who currently occupies the 10th and final playoff spot by just one point over Tanner Gray. The two drivers, plus defending champion Ben Rhodes in 12th, are all sitting just 12 points apart. With eight races left before the playoffs, both the regular season title and the cutoff are still far from decided.

Rookie Report

As Riggs was the highest finishing rookie, despite finishing 18th, he wins Rookie of the Race. With Kansas only having three total cautions (one for cause), it was likely hard for drivers to work on their trucks to contend for higher finishes – especially rookies.

No. 7 – Connor Mosack (30th)
No. 38 – Layne Riggs (18th)
No. 46 – Thad Moffitt (24th)
No. 66 – Cam Waters (19th)

Conner Jones Update: The part-time Rookie of the Year contender will return to the No. 66 for the next three races in hopes to get back in the thick of the fight. With the other two rookies struggling, Jones is still very much in play to win ROTY as a part-timer.

One Big Takeaway From This Race

In the Cup Series, the 2024 season is basically just the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas and the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets going jab-for-jab every race. It’s a safe bet to assume that the 2024 champion will come from one of the eight combined cars between JGR and HMS.

The Truck Series has its own version of this battle, and Heim’s Kansas win only solidifies that.

Based on the way this season is going, the championship fight is shaping up to come down to TRICON Garage and McAnally-Hilgemann Racing.

However, despite Heim and Eckes providing the only wins for their respective teams so far this season (and both having two), all of TRICON’s full-time drivers are poised for great seasons. The same can be said for all of MHR’s full-time drivers.

See also
Truckin' Thursdays: Christian Eckes Carrying Late 2023 Momentum Into 2024 Title Run

While Eckes and Heim are the flagship drivers for their organizations, it’s not impossible to believe that each of its drivers – Dean Thompson, Tanner Gray and Taylor Gray for TRICON, and Tyler Ankrum and Daniel Dye for MHR – could sneak a win this season. Except for Thompson in 18th, none of the other six drivers are lower than 11th in points and could easily be on track to take up the rest of the unoccupied playoff spots.

While Spire Motorsports had a hot start to the season (especially if you count the Rev Racing affiliated truck of Sanchez), the team has really not found momentum following Rajah Caruth‘s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That has left the door wide open for TRICON and MHR to make themselves the standout teams for 2024.

Don’t be surprised to see a driver from one of these two teams holding the championship trophy at Phoenix Raceway in November.

Talkin’ Truckers

Heim (winner):

Eckes (third), Brett Moffitt (fifth) and Tanner Gray (seventh):

Honeycutt (fourth):

Waters (19th):

Majeski (last):

Paint Scheme of the Race

Normally, manufacturer-sponsored paint schemes are basic. Typically with a gray base and manufacturer-specific colors as highlights throughout, they are generally generic, boring schemes.

See also
Connor Mosack Surges Late to Win ARCA Race at Kansas

However, Connor Mosack’s No. 7 Chevy Associates machine had a slightly different look to it.

Mosack made his second start of the Truck Series season, and first for Spire Motorsports. While he was sponsored by Chevy and Chevy Accessories, he had additional sponsorship from Pinnacle Racing Group, the same team Mosack competes for part-time in the ARCA Menards Series. The pairing coincidentally won the ARCA race earlier in the day.

However, PRG’s primary color aside from gray is orange, while Chevy’s is gold. Mosack’s No. 7 had a nice shade of blue throughout his truck to go along with accents of PRG orange. While there’s no outwardly apparent reason for the blue being added to the truck, it sure makes the truck stand out from other basic manufacturer-sponsored race cars or trucks.

Next Stop

The Lady in Black. The track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame.” Darlington Raceway. Whatever you want to call it, it’s sure to be a tough but fun race.

The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Darlington Raceway for its annual throwback weekend. Throwback paint schemes are still being released, and the Truck Series has no shortage of throwbacks too. It will be a fun one-off race to see the unique schemes the teams have come up with this year.

Eckes is the defending winner of the race, doing so in a Hershel McGriff throwback from 1950.

Coverage for the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 10. Television coverage can be found once again on FOX Sports 1, while the Motor Racing Network continues its season-long coverage of the Truck Series.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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