Corey Heim has been to victory lane a few times in 2022. This weekend, he hopes to score a unique trophy with another win.
Heim has a pair of wins in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series in 2022, as well as a victory with the Southern Super Series at Crisp Motorsports Park and a Late Model Stock win at the South Boston 200.
“It’s been an up-and-down year for us, for sure," Heim told Racing America. "I haven’t been doing a whole lot of Late Model racing. As far as the Trucks and the ARCA Series goes, we’ve had our highs and our lows. We’ve had a couple wins, which is great. It comes with a little bit of inconsistency, but at the end of the year, we can say we won races, and in NASCAR that’s all that matters.
However, Sunday’s Winchester 400 gives him a chance to pursue one of the most interesting trophies in motorsports, the famed Winchester rifle. It’s part of the race’s 50-plus year history, with a list of winners that includes the likes of Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Erik Jones.
“Going into Winchester this weekend, it’s one of my favorite tracks, if not my favorite track. To get a rifle there, I’ve never won there before, so to get a win there would be super special.
“The Winchester Rifle would be super cool to have. I’ve never had a unique trophy like that. The Pocono eagle and the Talladega iron are pretty cool, but none of them are as unique as the Winchester rifle."
Racing at Winchester is just as unique as the trophy Heim and nearly 30 other Super Late Model competitors will be chasing for 400 laps on Sunday afternoon. The half-mile oval with 37 degrees of banking in the corners is a test of both man and machine.
That challenge is especially daunting in a Super Late Model. Last year, Heim started on the pole for the Winchester 400 with a qualifying lap of 15.161 seconds around the half-mile.
“The main thing is the weight difference. The Super Late Model is way lighter than the ARCA car. On a banked track like Winchester, the lap times are going to be way faster in the Super Late Model. It’s definitely a lot more throttle time, a lot faster in the Super Late Model, but it’s just as technical in the ARCA car.”
No matter what car races at Winchester, it is a constant battle to hit your marks on the venerable, high-banked surface.
“The track is just as challenging, even though you’re completely changing your driving style. The overall characteristics of the two cars are similar there. It’s just realizing the Super Late Model is a lot faster with a lot more throttle time.”
Whoever can handle that task for 400 laps on Sunday will join a list of racing royalty and get to hold the Winchester rifle in victory lane. Heim has been on the doorstep of a Winchester triumph on two occasions already. He finished second to Stephen Nasse in the 2019 Winchester 400 and third in an ARCA race at the half-mile facility in 2021, leading 175 laps in that race.
Heim hopes it is his turn this year.
“To have that would stack up really well as my favorite trophy. I’d have to look at it up close, which I haven’t had the chance to do yet. I finished second in the Winchester 400 a couple of years ago and third last year in the ARCA race. I’ve been close, but unfortunately close isn’t enough, and I’m hoping to change that this weekend.”