In the final stage of Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Phoenix Raceway, Corey Heim looked ready to cruise to the championship, in his first full-time campaign in the series.
That didn’t end up happening, though, after a multi-faceted spat between himself and Carson Hocevar would ultimately keep both drivers from competing for the championship in the race’s closing laps.
The first contact between the two drivers came with 30 laps to go, as Heim had just moved around Hocevar for the provisional championship lead, when the Niece Motorsports driver lunged into the third corner, slipped up the track, and spun the No. 11 Toyota Tundra out.
With damage to the right rear of his truck, Heim’s night was effectively over due to a lack of sideforce, making his truck nearly impossible to drive. While he wasn’t out of contention, it was going to be hard for him to rebound and win the title without major issues.
“I just got cleaned out. I passed him clean and then he hit me two or three times, and then he finally had enough fun hitting me, and then he wrecked me,” said Heim after the race. “It is what it is. Every guy on Sunday is going to see that and understand that they’re going to be racing against him like that.
“I’m not too worried about it, I don’t have to race him anymore,” Heim added. “I don’t have to deal with it too much. Yeah, just kind of expected, he’s been racing me like that since he was five years old – I raced with him in quarter midgets, so it’s just part of championship racing.”
But, that wasn’t the end of things either. After Hocevar had slid backwards, and Heim had been rushing through the pack, the two came together again inside the final five laps of the race’s scheduled distance, and what unfolded next were fireworks.
Running just outside the top-10, Heim appeared to crowd the No. 42 Chevrolet Silverado towards the outside wall, and stuff him in the fence, causing significant damage to Hocevar, and knocking him out of the race.
Talking to FOX Sports, Heim said: “It wasn’t retaliation. I had no sideforce, he put it on my door, and I wrecked.”
Providing more detail, the five-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner then expanded upon his comments talking to members of the media.
“We always had a shot, we were on the lead lap, we just had no sideforce,” Heim said about the final laps of the race. “He put it on my door when he was passing me and I just lost control. Unfortunate for us and unfortunate for them, but it’s part of it. You can go look at the right rear over there it’s destroyed, so as soon as he put it on my door, I lost control.”
When drilled once again about whether or not the wreck was intentional, with it appearing that way from the outside, Heim was blunt with his answer, saying: “The only person who really knows is me, so that’s all that really matters.”