NASCAR announced Wednesday that Truck Series driver Corey Heim was fined $12,500 and 25 points for his actions during Friday night’s Truck Series title race.
The 21-year-old Heim was one of four drivers fighting for the championship alongside Grant Enfinger, Carson Hocevar and Ben Rhodes. Heim went into a spin after Hocevar’s truck slid across the track on lap 120 as the two drivers battled for the top spot among title contenders.
Heim didn’t agree with Hocevar’s move and waited to exact revenge in the final scheduled laps of the race. With Enfinger ahead of Rhodes in third place and on his way to his first Truck Series title of his career, Heim put Hocevar into the wall on lap 147.
After the race, Heim denied that the retaliatory accident was intentional, even though it seemed obvious.
“So as soon as [Hocevar] – Actually, he was the third person to pass me on the outside, and every time I almost broke, and when he got there, I finally just turned it around. When he was at my door, I lost all my lateral strength and control.”
A few minutes later, Heim made it clear in his press conference what he thought of Hocevar’s move.
“I’ve been racing with Carson for a long time, since I was 8 or 9 years old, and that’s just his way,” Heim said. “He’ll ruin you and apologize, and then he’ll do it again the next week.
“It won’t be the last time he does it and it’s certainly not the first time he does it. [I’ve] I’ve known him for a long time and I know a lot of people have only known him for four years in his racing career, but beyond that it’s been a decade.”
Somewhat surprisingly, NASCAR took no action against Heim in the race after he destroyed Hocevar. They let him finish the race as he finished 18th and Hocevar finished 29th. The points penalty means that Heim finishes fourth in the overall standings behind Hocevar.
Rhodes won the title with a fifth-place finish after three crashes following Heim’s retaliation caused the race to last 29 laps longer than planned. Enfinger started third again after Heim had an accident with Hocevar, but lost some track position on the scheduled white flag lap and came into the pits for new tires.
Despite the staccato character, he was able to fight his way through the field at the end of the race and ended up one place behind Rhodes at the checkered flag. The race included 12 cautions for 77 laps for a total of 179 laps and there was no green flag run lasting longer than 12 laps on the final 100 tracks.
“I think Corey probably had the best truck there, but it’s just unfortunate that this incident was retaliation or whatever, and obviously I feel like we had the championship right in our hands,” Enfinger said.
“Just part of racing, part of this format. I think it started a chain reaction that just leads to chaos, which I think is entertaining. It’s frustrating to be competing for a championship.”