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Corey Heim Wins Rain-Delayed Toyota 200 at Gateway

Corey Heim does a burnout on the frontstretch after winning the Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Photo Credit: Craig White | TobyChristie.com

Corey Heim and TRICON Garage have been one of the fastest teams of the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, and they may also be the best at rain dances, as Heim took the checkered flag first in Saturday’s rain-delayed Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The victory is the fourth on the season for Heim, who also won at North Wilkesboro on May 19 in a race that was postponed due to heavy rains. With the latest victory, Heim also remains undefeated at Gateway, as he won the 2022 Truck Series race at the track and did not compete in the 2023 race due to an illness.

While Heim led 65 laps in the Toyota 200, the most of any driver, and scored the win, he actually lost one point to Christian Eckes, who finished second, in the battle for the Regular Season points championship. Heim, who suffered a disqualification last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, now sits 31 points behind Eckes in the standings.

“Just have to say, this pit crew has redeemed themselves. Last week, felt like we could’ve won the race and admittedly, they made some mistakes, but they redeemed themselves today and that’s what it’s all about,” Heim said in his post-race interview.

Runner-up finisher Eckes led two laps in the No. 19 McAnally Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet Silverado and carries his points lead into Nashville Superspeedway. Charlotte race winner Nick Sanchez took home third place while leading ten laps in the No. 2 Rev Racing machine.

Polesitter Ty Majeski claimed fourth place in his No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford. Majeski swept the race’s two stages and led 43 laps, which was second most to Heim. Layne Riggs rounded out the top five in his No. 38 Ford, which gives the rookie two top fives in his last three races.

Chase Purdy finished sixth, leaving him with a perfect top ten record at Gateway for his career. The Meridian, Mississippi native still has not finished outside the top ten in four career starts at the venue.

Defending series champion Ben Rhodes finished seventh in his No. 99 Ford. Rhodes has yet to win in his quest to repeat as champion but did take home his fourth top ten on the season and his third in the last four races.

Stewart Friesen came home in eighth, recording his third straight top ten finish. Friesen also recorded his sixth top ten in seven career races at Gateway.

The top ten was completed by two drivers making their Craftsman Truck Series debut. Andres Perez de Lara, competing for the 2024 ARCA Menards Series championship, finished ninth in the Spire Motorsports No. 7 entry, and Luke Fenhaus finished 10th in the No. 66 Ford.

Fenhaus, a winner of multiple ARCA races, recovered from an early spin to give the No. 66 entry its first top ten finish since Joey Logano won in the entry at Bristol Dirt last season.

RELATED: Toyota 200 at Gateway results

After a rain delay that lasted just under three hours, Majeski led the field to green and quickly pulled ahead with the lead.

The race’s first incident took place on lap 11, when Majeski’s teammate Luke Fenhaus, making his Craftsman Truck Series debut, spun into turn one. The No. 66 Ford made a move to the inside of Lawless Alan and Bayley Currey but was unable to make it stick and lost control. Fenhaus was able to avoid contact with the wall and continued with no damage.

The rest of stage one was run without incident, with Majeski taking home his fourth stage win of the season.

Shortly after the race restarted, the caution flew once again for an incident involving Colby Howard. On lap 47, Howard, making his third start of the season for TRICON Garage, blew a right front tire in turn three and shot up into the outside wall. The contact left the No. 1 with significant damage and unable to continue, leaving Howard as the race’s first DNF.

The remainder of stage two was completed caution-free, with Majeski claiming the stage victory. The stage win marks the second timethis season that Majeski has swept both stages in a race.

Corey Heim led the field back to green to begin stage three, with the No. 11 leapfrogging Majeski during pit stops. Heim opened up a lead of over one second over Majeski not long after. During the ensuing green flag run, Taylor Gray brought his No. 17 Toyota to pit road with mechanical issues, causing Gray to lose many laps while the issue was fixed. Later in the run, Bayley Currey also brought his truck down pit road with mechanical issues, with the No. 41 losing power on the track prior to the pit stop.

The long green flag run continued until lap 129, when the caution came back out for Vicente Salas. Salas, making his second career Truck Series start and the first on an oval, got loose underneath Matt Crafton out of turn two and spun into the inside wall, leaving the No. 91 with substantial front end damage. The spin happened directly in front of Heim, who had to take evasive measures to avoid contact with Salas.

Green flag racing resumed with 23 laps to go, with Heim and Majeski leading the field to it. Heim pulled away from Majeski while the No. 98 came under fire from Christian Eckes. The battling between Makeski and Eckes allowed Nick Sanchez to join the fray, creating a three-way battle inside the top five as Heim continued to increase his lead. Despite Eckes and Sanchez slowly starting to chip away at Heim’s lead, it was too little too late, as Heim held on to win his fourth race of the season.

The win marks Toyota’s fourth win of the Truck Series season, with all four coming courtesy of Heim. The result also extends Ford’s winless streak to start to season to twelve races, marking the first time Ford has gone winless this late into a Truck Series season since 2017, when Austin Cindric took the blue oval’s first win in the fifteenth event of the year.

The next Craftsman Truck Series race will be on Friday, June 28 at Nashville Superspeedway, and will be broadcast by FS1.

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