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Corey Heim Triumphs in Multi-Day Wright Brand 250 at North Wilkesboro

Photo Credit: Matthew T. Thacker, LAT Images for Toyota Racing

All season long, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series field has been looking for answers to try and slow down Corey Heim and the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra TRD Pro team. Now, rain and lightning can be added to the list of things that don’t work, as Heim took the victory in the Wright Brand 250 at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Heim managed to lead a race-high 66 laps around the historic 0.625-mile short track during the Sunday portion of the two-day show, which featured a red flag lasting more than 21 hours, due to precipitation and localized flooding in the area.

The victory marks the third of the season for Heim in the NASCAR Truck Series, and the eighth of his 51-race career.

“That was crazy,” said Corey Heim, driver of the No. 11, after the race. “Definitely a crazy weekend with the weather and whatnot, but I knew since practice that we had the speed. So, can’t say enough about these TRICON Garage guys, what a truck, what a weekend. Knew we had potential from practice and to put it all together and executed great today.”

 

Grant Enfinger managed a runner-up result in the Wright Brand 250, driving the No. 9 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet for CR7 Motorsports. The finish marks Enfinger’s first top-five of the year, and the best-ever finish for the single-truck organization.

Layne Riggs was involved in the relentless battle for second place in the closing laps of Sunday’s event, matching a career-best by bringing his Front Row Motorsports Ford F-150 home in third place, providing a major boost for his rookie campaign.

In fourth, Brenden Queen had a stellar NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at North Wilkesboro, driving the No. 1 Toyota Tundra for TRICON Garage. The finish is the best for the entry this season, trumping a pair of fifth-place runs by Christopher Bell and Brett Moffitt.

Rounding out the top five was Sammy Smith, driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports. A regular in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Smith rebounded from a pass-through penalty on the initial start (on Saturday), but made his way through the field to record his first-ever Truck Series top-five.

Christian Eckes ended up sixth on the afternoon, while Daytona winner Nick Sanchez rebounded from a restart violation in the race’s final stage to finish in seventh. Tyler Ankrum was eighth, with Daniel Dye and Stewart Friesen rounding out the top-10.

RELATED: Wright Brand 250 Results

On Saturday, Eckes led the field to green — with time trials being canceled due to inclement weather. The McAnally-Hilgemann Racing driver dominated early, leading until the race’s first caution at Lap 59 — launching a flurry of different strategy calls that unfolded throughout the race.

Ty Majeski won the race’s first stage over Ben Rhodes and Rajah Caurth, and just as the field looked ready to return to racing, the race was halted due to lightning. For a while, that’s all the delay was, lightning, until a torrential downpour hit the racetrack, forcing the postponement of the remainder of the event to 11:30 AM Sunday. The downpour caused flooding in and around the race track with tires and equipment floating in the infield.

After a nearly day-long delay, Majeski led the field back to green. As Rajah Caruth challenged for the lead though, he made contact with the No. 98, sending his Spire Motorsports entry for a spin in the second corner. Caruth would continue with minimal damage, finishing the race 14th.

Video: Rajah Caruth Spins Battling for Lead on Lap 92 at North Wilkesboro

Throughout the remaining laps of the second stage, a pair of quick cautions were displayed for incidents by Bret Holmes and Lawless Alan, both in the second corner. The Lap 140 incident for Holmes, forced the end of the second stage, awarding a playoff point to Tyler Ankrum.

In the final stage, the race had a new look, with several drivers appearing at the front of the pack with their alternate strategies, some of which worked, and some that didn’t. Jake Garcia, with new crew chief Rich Lushes, led his first laps in the NASCAR Truck Series, leading 40 circuits around North Wilkesboro before fading late.

Conner Jones would bring out the penultimate caution of the event at Lap 177, crashing into the outside wall in Turn 4, and subsequently becoming the first, and only, crash-related DNF of the afternoon.

Upon the restart, Corey Heim quickly darted to the lead, bringing his Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro to the top of the scoring pylon, and running away from the field behind him, until the race’s final caution at Lap 213, for contact between Dean Thompson and Nick Sanchez.

The race quickly became a case of ‘same song, second verse’ as Heim quickly scurried away from the pack, opening up a 2.5-second advantage by the time the checkered flag waved, despite strong charges by Grant Enfinger, Layne Riggs, and Brenden Queen.

Heim’s third win on the season came at a third different type of track, with his first two victories being at a road course and intermediate track. The win also extends Ford’s winless streak in the series to 12, with their last Truck Series win being at Talladega in 2023 with Brett Moffitt.

With the victory, Heim cut into Christian Eckes’ points lead, closing the gap to the No. 19 to four points. The next Craftsman Truck Series race will be on Friday, May 24, at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will be broadcast on FS1.

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