Corey Heim grew up watching his father race Legends cars at Lanier National (Ga.) Speedway on an extremely tight budget. He would sit and play with his die cast race cars on the concrete grandstands between the races.
At age 5, Corey was introduced to quarter midget racing while attending a regional race at Bill Thomas Raceway in Cumming, Georgia as a fan. He, at that event, decided that racing was something that he too wanted to do.
For Christmas in 2007, Corey received a used quarter midget car. He began practicing it the next month at Bill Thomas Raceway. However, he didn’t take to the sport right away. In fact, Corey wasn’t sure if this was something he wanted to do. So, he took a break from practice only to return a few months later. His first race and first win was on June 6, 2008 (06.07.08) and he never looked back.
He won 12 of 14 events including the prestigious Cotton Classic in his rookie year. His quarter midget career did not keep flourishing, however. In fact, he would be shut out of Victory Lane for almost five years. He had won heat races and placed second and third many times but could not grab the checkered flag for a feature event. While most competitors arrived in large trailers with new cars, Corey and his father operated out of the back of their pickup truck.
Their situation did improve and in May of 2013, Corey won the Georgia “States” race. This was a regional qualifier for the Eastern Grands that would be held at Bill Thomas Raceway later that year.
The win gave Corey great confidence going forward and with the help of Bill Thomas himself, Troy Hickmon, and later Rob and Christina Fletcher (FMI Racing), Corey would go on to win several more races and a Heavy World Formula Championship over the next few years.
2015 was highlighted by a trip to Indianapolis for the USAC asphalt nationals. Corey had brake troubles during the Heavy 160 heat race and started sixth in the D-main. He, with the help of the Halder boys (the “H” Train), methodically worked their way to the front of each lower main to transfer into the A.
In the A-main, Corey passed the two lead cars with only a few laps to go after they got together. Unfortunately, to get around the lead cars, Corey had to pinch the next corner and he got freight trained to the inside by all of the cars behind him. A roller coaster ride for sure, but a great experience.
In the fall of 2015, it was time to start looking for the next step. Corey wanted to continue racing on asphalt. However, by this time many of the local asphalt tracks, including Lanier National, had closed.
The best option seemed to be Bandolero and Legends cars. Corey met with Ken Ragan, father of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Ragan and it was decided that Corey would race in the Bandolero Outlaw class at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Over the next four months, he competed in six races on ovals and road courses, amassed four wins, and finished no worse than second.
In December of 2015, it was time to move him up the ladder to Legends division.
Corey raced the AMS Winter Flurry Series (Jan to May 2016) in the Young Lions division and won one race and claimed the championship with the help of Dennis Harry.
Due to his early success and something that he saw, Ken Ragan suggested to Corey that he should race in the Pro division for the Thursday Thunder Summer Series at Atlanta. Corey accepted the challenge and went to work.
Corey’s father suffered a heart attack mid-season, and Bubba Harry took over as crew chief of the-then 77 racing machine. Racing to make his recovering father proud, Corey would finish third in the Pro division points boasting mostly top five finishes all year long against some steep competition.
The plan for 2017 was to race as much as one could race to gain seat time and experience. To do it, Corey would need to race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Summer Shootout.
Corey’s father, now fully recovered could not possibly hold down a full time job and race two separate weekday racing series. So, Corey teamed up with Matt Drake at Fab Specialties. A crew chief known for developing young drivers and had a proven track record at CMS and Legends Cars.
Drake was to prepare the cars for the Summer Shootout and travel to Atlanta or provide phone support to the team in Atlanta. Corey raced in nearly 35 Legends Car events that year and won several races, the 2017 Thursday Thunder Pro Championship, and the Georgia State Pro Legends championship.
Midway through 2017, it was realized that Corey needed to continue to show his talent and that the Legends Cars could only fulfill some of the stage. Team 78 acquired a Pro Late Model and began testing at Crisp Motorsports Park. Corey raced the Pro Late Model in late August at the Watermelon Capital facility and posted a top five finish in his debut.
The next race was at the famed Five Flags Speedway where Corey posted another top-10 finish. It was then decided that Corey should enter the Snowflake later that year. Corey made the show of 40+ cars by qualifying in on speed (13th) and posted an impressive eighth place finish in the event.
2018 continued Corey’s PLM career with four top-five finishes in as many starts at the World Series of Stock Car Racing in New Smyrna and a top-10 finish (6th) at Montgomery Speedway.
The 2018 Rattler at South Alabama Speedway marked the debut of Corey Heim’s Super Late Model Career. Corey took to the Super Late Model right from the start and he posted another impressive top five finish in the famed event. Luck and circumstance would take Corey on a roller coaster ride of finishes early in the year.
Corey struggled a bit while acclimating to tracks that his competitors have run so many times before. Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of the 2018 Short Track Nationals, would be the next event where Corey would shine bright, posting a top-10 qualifying effort (6th) and a top three finish (3rd). The summer would continue the roller coaster ride. Luck and circumstance would again play a large role in determining whether the driver of the 78 car could get the car to the front.
In August, Corey joined forces with Lee Pulliam Performance to race the South Boston Late Model Stock Car twin 75’s. The purpose of the races was to get Corey familiar with the team and prepare him to compete in the Valley Star Credit 300 at Martinsville later that year.
Corey won both 75 lap events against track regulars Phillip Morris and Peyton Sellers only to have the wins taken away after a politically-charged tech inspection where non-existent rules were enforced. The South Boston event also hosted a 150 lap PASS Super Late Model Race. Corey led much of the race against the likes of Bubba Pollard. A late race problem with the restart gear in the transmission resulted in a fourth-place finish in that event.
A late September race in Martinsville brought about the most controversial finish of the year for the 16-year-old driver. After a poor qualifying result, Corey started his heat race in the 12th position. While passing for the 9th position in the heat race, the outside car pinched the exit of turn four collecting Corey and severely damaging the front nose of the LPP machine. The 78 team rose to occasion and repaired the damage enough for Corey to continue and he drove it to a 10th place finish in the heat. This would be the last position to transfer to the main event.
Corey started the race in the 30th position and methodically worked his way through the field. At the half way point, Corey was running in the 14th position. With 20 laps to go, Corey found himself in seventh position. A series of late race wrecks, mostly involving the cars in front of him, allowed Corey to inherit the lead on the final green-white-checkered attempt.
On the final restart, the second-place car jumped the start and led heading into turn one. Corey quickly regained the lead from the inside position and maintained it through turns one and two and down the backstretch when the caution finally came out for an accident behind the two lead cars. The win was awarded to the car that had crossed the start-finish line first, which was the car that had jumped the start. Fans to this day will tell you that Corey should have won that race.
The year continued with improved efforts as Corey’s confidence and experience was rising. Corey posted a 2nd place finish at Orange County Speedway and ran up front at the Winchester 400 event before a flat tire removed him from contention.
The Governor’s Cup and Snowball Derby were not among the best finishes for the 78 team or Corey Heim. Engine issues plagued the team in both events and led to poor finishes. November also brought a return to the South Boston Speedway that had earlier robbed Corey of at least two wins. Confidence was high and the event was much anticipated. Retribution was the word in the 78 pits as the CARS Tour rolled into South Boston.
Corey did not disappoint his new fans posting a fifth place qualifying effort and taking the checkered flag in a side by side battle for the lead finish in the AutoByNelson 250. Corey also finished strong in the Lee Pulliam Performance LMSC, placing second at the Myrtle Beach 400 event.
For the 2019 season, Corey will continue an aggressive Late Model schedule while also leaping to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for a 13-race schedule with Chad Bryant Racing beginning at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway in March aboard the No. 22 Ford Fusion.