Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: We’re All Just Living on Heim Time

In A Nutshell

World Wide Technology Raceway marked the 12th race of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.

Corey Heim has gone to victory lane in one-third of those races.

Heim won his fourth race of the year at Gateway, adding an extra $50,000 courtesy of the Triple Truck Challenge. Heim was largely absent from the leaders for the first two stages before coming alive in the final stage. He led 65 laps, all in the final stage.

See also
Corey Heim Wins 4th Truck Race of 2024 at Gateway

Christian Eckes, his primary championship rival, finished second, followed by last week’s winner Nick Sanchez in third. Polesitter Ty Majeski swept the stages but could only manage a finish of fourth, while rookie Layne Riggs finished fifth.

The Top Truckers at World Wide Technology Raceway

Winner, Most Laps Led (65 of 160 laps): Corey Heim
Polesitter, Stage 1 and 2 Winner: Ty Majeski
Biggest Mover: Luke Fenhaus (Started 27th, finished 10th)
Rookie of the Race: Layne Riggs

Top Storylines of the Race

  • Only two drivers failed to finish the race. The No. 1 of Colby Howard cut a tire and crashed in stage two, sending him hard into the outside wall. Meanwhile, Mason Massey had a mechanical issue that forced him behind the wall with a little over 30 laps to go.
  • Only two other incidents occurred during the afternoon, both spins, and both by rookies. Luke Fenhaus looped his No. 66 while making a three-wide pass for position, while Vicente Salas brought out the final caution of the afternoon when he spun off of turn 2.

The Winning Move

Following a caution with 23 to go, Heim and Majeski restarted on the front row. Heim scooted away with the lead, while Eckes passed Majeski for second. Eckes looked like he could run Heim down, but eventually fell into the clutches of Sanchez.

As the two of them raced, they held each other up. That allowed Heim to ride off into the sunset.

Championship Rundown

Heim continues to tack on playoff points, but Eckes remains the regular season championship leader by 31 points thanks to Heim’s DQ last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With two playoff spots guaranteed to be locked in via points, Taylor Gray holds that provisional final spot (assuming there are four new winners to close the regular season) by 23 points over Tyler Ankrum.

Meanwhile, at the cut line, the gap is beginning to widen. Grant Enfinger holds a 26-point cushion over Stewart Friesen for the 10th and final playoff spot.

Four races remain, and given the chaotic nature of the Truck Series, it’s still anyone’s guess who fills the final six spots.

Rookie Report

That No. 38 team is finally starting to figure it out.

Riggs earned his second top five in three weeks, finishing a solid fifth. Much like Heim, Riggs wasn’t really relevant until really late in the race. Even still, he made moves late with fresh tires, and he earns this week’s Rookie of the Race.

No. 7 – Andres Perez (ninth)
No. 38 – Riggs (fifth)
No. 45 – Connor Mosack (22nd)
No. 46 – Thad Moffitt (28th)
No. 66 – Fenhaus (10th)
No. 91 – Salas (25th)

Conner Jones Update: After sitting out this race, Jones is slated to return to the No. 66 for the next race at Nashville Superspeedway before missing the following two races in his quest to win Rookie of the Year as a part-timer.

One Big Takeaway From This Race

Gateway has been a part of the Truck Series schedule since 1998 (save for a brief hiatus from 2011-2013). Except for 2010, when the Xfinity Series’ final trip to the Arch lined up the same weekend as the Truckers, it’s been a largely standalone event on the NASCAR side.

Then 2022 came and the NASCAR Cup Series finally got to take its turn on the 1.25-mile oval.

The Trucks have maintained its annual visit, but now as an opening act instead of the main event. Since then, the Cup Series has put in fairly entertaining events.

But that has meant that comparatively, the Truck Series hasn’t been able to put on nearly as entertaining shows.

The race we saw Saturday (June 1) was largely follow the leader. There were some battles for the lead and some better racing midpack, but after about 10-15 laps of racing after a restart (which we didn’t have very many of), it was difficult to track down the leader unless your truck was flat out better.

Is it time for the Truck Series to move on from Gateway?

It might be an overreaction, combined with a desire to see the series form its own identity, but it just seems like the Truck Series could do better somewhere else out of the Cup Series’ arch-shaped shadow.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway is generally a great race, and that sentiment held true on Saturday during its concurrent race with the Truck Series.

Maybe the Truck Series should go there with Xfinity and give both series a weekend away from the Cup Series to shine. Not to mention, the Truck Series more often than not has great outings on road courses.

It could be a possibility. But it seems like maybe the Truck Series’ relationship with Gateway has gone stale. Perhaps a break (or a permanent split) could benefit both parties from a racing standpoint.

Talkin’ Truckers

Heim lets the fans know what time it is:

Sanchez (fourth), Riggs (fifth), Perez (ninth) and Fenhaus (10th) break down their afternoons:

See also
Andres Perez, Luke Fenhaus Post Top-10 Finishes In Truck Series Debuts

Paint Scheme of the Race

Wholly guacamole, that’s one good-lookin’ paint scheme.

Perez made his Truck Series debut in a bright green Spire Motorsports truck with sponsorship from Wholly Guacamole, Herdez and Telcel, with Wholly Guacamole enveloping the hood.

Given that Gateway is a day race for the Truckers, there was no question where Perez was on track at any time, as his No. 7 was the brightest paint scheme overall.

A fitting sponsorship, combined with a beautiful paint scheme. Perez finished ninth in his debut, a sign of good things to come for him.

Next Stop

Music City, here we come.

The CTruck Series gets a whopping three weeks off before it returns to action at Nashville Superspeedway. Carson Hocevar won last year’s race but he will not defend his win given his Cup Series promotion.

Coverage for the Rackley Roofing 200 will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, June 28. The television broadcast will shift to FOX Sports 2, while Motor Racing Network continues its season-long radio coverage for 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. 

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

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Drew

I’m very happy that Corey heim has won at St. Louis and he has also won $50,000 in the triple truck challenge.

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