Corey Heim
Corey Heim, driver of the No. 20 JBL Toyota, prepares for the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama, on April 24, 2021. (Dustin Chambers/ARCA Racing)

NOTEBOOK: Heat Check Coming For Corey Heim At Kansas

Corey Heim has made clear how excited he is to race in Saturday’s Dutch Boy 150 at Kansas Speedway, one of the 18-year-old’s favorite tracks, on the heels of his third win in the last four ARCA Menards Series races dating back to last season.

The 1.5-mile speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, though, has not been kind to ARCA Menards Series drivers who return to the track with Kansas wins already on their records.

PIT BOX: Drivers Meet Kansas Race with Excitement

One week after Heim became the first driver to win ARCA Menards Series races at both Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in the same season since David Keith in 2000, the series points leader will look to buck another trend Saturday at Kansas.

In the 20 years the ARCA Menards Series has been competing at Kansas, only one driver has won back-to-back races at the track; that was Alex Bowman in 2011 and 2012. Heim, who won last season’s finale at Kansas for his first trip to Victory Lane in the series, would be the second.

Further, Bowman is one of just two drivers who have multiple ARCA Menards Series wins at Kansas. Frank Kimmel, the series’ all-time wins leader, has three Kansas victories (2002, 2006, 2013), not including a checkered flag at the track in what’s now the ARCA Menards Series West.

Corey Heim
Corey Heim, driver of the No. 20 JBL Toyota, celebrates winning the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama, on April 24, 2021. (Dustin Chambers/ARCA Racing)

Heim arrives in Kansas City with every reason to believe he can join the list of multiple-time Kansas winners. Not only has his Venturini Motorsports team proved his No. 20 JBL Toyota is among the quickest cars in the series, but Heim benefits from a unique comfort level at this particular track.

Saturday’s race will be Heim’s third at Kansas, which will make it the track on which he has raced the most in the ARCA Menards Series. He finished fourth in his Kansas debut last July before winning the October race in dominating fashion.

Of course, Heim is not the only driver in Saturday’s field who enters with justifiable confidence. Defending ARCA Menards Series champion Bret Holmes finished second to Heim at Kansas in October to clinch the title, and he won the July race.

Derek Griffith, who is entered at Kansas as Heim’s teammate in the No. 25 SpotON Toyota for VMS, finished third the last time the series raced at Kansas. The third VMS driver in Saturday’s race, Drew Dollar in the No. 15 Sunbelt Rentals Toyota, has three top-10 finishes in three ARCA Menards Series races at Kansas.

And then there’s Ty Gibbs, whose lone start at Kansas in last year’s October race was ruined by mechanical issues early in the event. The 2021 championship contender may not have Kansas experience on his side, but Heim and everybody else in the field knows he has the speed to win.

These are all of the hurdles Heim will need to jump in order to extend his hot streak.

MORE KANSAS:

Decals for Derrick Lancaster

D.L. Wilson, who will race at Kansas in the No. 12 Leggott Trailers of Waco Toyota for Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing team, arrived at the track with some extra luggage.

Wilson’s wife created decals featuring the No. 29 inside a heart for her husband to distribute to all of the teams entered in Saturday’s race. The decals are a display of support for Derrick Lancaster, who is recovering at an Alabama medical facility from injuries sustained in a fiery crash last weekend at Talladega.

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With five laps to go in the General Tire 200, Lancaster’s car hit the Talladega backstretch wall and burst into flames before it slid into the infield grass in Turn 3. Track safety crew members helped Lancaster out of the car before he was transported to the infield care center, and then to a local medical facility for further evaluation.

Lancaster’s wife Beth on Friday evening shared the following update on her husband’s condition via social media:

“Progress! Your prayers are helping. Derrick is in stable condition as he continues his recovery in the hospital. He started hydrotherapy for his burns on Thursday and his pain is well controlled as he’s working through physical and occupational therapy. As always the prayers and support are very much appreciated. To say we are grateful is an understatement. I want to thank everybody in the ARCA Menards Series garage for placing those No. 29 decals on their cars for (Saturday’s) race. You will see them on the broadcast, which begins at 1:30 pm ET on FS1. Derrick and I will be watching! I’ll update again tomorrow with any changes.”

Lancaster, 48, made his seventh ARCA Menards Series start last weekend. He has competed part-time in the series since 2014.

Wilson, the 56-year-old from Waco, Texas, will make his eighth ARCA Menards Series start Saturday at Kansas.

Doubleheader Ditto

As was the case last week at Talladega, Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series race at Kansas will run as a doubleheader event with a national NASCAR series.

The Dutch Boy 150 is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET and broadcast live on FS1 (MRN Radio/SiriusXM). It will precede the Wise Power 200 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET, also on FS1.

The race weekend at Kansas concludes with Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400 for the NASCAR Cup Series (3 p.m. ET, FS1).

Tickets are still available for Saturday’s doubleheader featuring the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. One ticket allows access to both races.

And more:

  • Jack Wood, who will run his first race on a 1.5-mile track Saturday at Kansas, has been preparing virtually: “I’ve been doing a lot of iRacing on Kansas with Scott Speed and just trying to understand more about that style of racing and holding momentum through the corner. I feel like even though Talladega wasn’t the best finish it definitely was a momentum-builder. We definitely were in a place to compete for the win at the end, but our line didn’t go how I needed it to. We’ll take the momentum from last week and see what we have when we unload Saturday.”
  • Following a ninth-place run at Talladega, Eric Caudell and the No. 7 CCM Racing team are headed to Kansas with Cattle Five B on the hood of the car, a new sponsor for the team. In six starts at Kansas, Caudell has three finishes of 12th or better. “I have confidence in the car running good and us being able to duplicate our performance last year,” he said. “Plus leverage what I learned last year, because that was my first really good experience with a skewed rear end car. Previous times, we hadn’t really hit the setup right. I didn’t trust the car, so I didn’t trust myself, so I was real conservative. Last year I got in the car, the car felt great, and I was able to hold the pedal all the way to the floor and carry a lot of speed and we ran probably one of the best intermediate races we’ve run.”
  • Greg Van Alst at Kansas will run his first race on an intermediate track since 2002 at Chicagoland Speedway. “I can’t remember everything about Kentucky and Chicagoland in 2002, but I know I had a lot of fun,” he said. “The series and even race cars have changed a lot since then though. Thankfully, I have Jim and even Chad (Bryant of Chad Bryant Racing) whom we bought our intermediate car from have been a huge asset. I feel we are bringing an extremely competitive intermediate car and have the chance of earning our best finish of the year and give us some much-welcomed momentum into the summer stretch.”
Toni Breidinger
Toni Breidinger, driver of the No. 02 Young’s Racing Chevrolet, waits for her crew to make adjustments during the ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Jan. 16, 2021. (Kate Gardiner/ARCA Racing)
  • Saturday’s race at Kansas marks Toni Breidinger’s first on a 1.5-mile track since 2018. “I feel good going into Kansas, especially with there being some practice this weekend,” she said. “It has been a while since I have been on a mile-and-a-half track, so I am excited about the chance to experience it again and have a strong race with my Young’s Motorsports team. My goal is to get all the laps in and make clean and competitive passes.”
  • The Dutch Boy 150 will be the 1,497th race in ARCA Menards Series history, dating back to the series’ inaugural race at Dayton Speedway on May 10, 1953. It will be the fourth race of the 2021 season and the 22nd time the series has raced at Kansas.
  • Jason Jarrett won the inaugural ARCA Menards Series race at Kansas in 2001, part of the track’s opening weekend. Ten-time series champion Frank Kimmel won in what’s now the ARCA Menards Series West the day before to claim the first ever victory on what was then a brand new track.
  • Kansas has been the site of the ARCA Menards Series championship race since 2012; it will host the 2021 series finale on Oct. 23.