Fr8Auctions 208 Recap: Corey Heim Captures First Career Victory at Atlanta

The Fr8Auctions 208 Truck Series race marks the first field of drivers to take to the newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway in official competition. Severe storms led to the cancellation of qualifying on Friday, so the starting grid was set according to NASCAR rules. Chandler Smith and Stewart Friesen rolled off in row one, followed by Matt Crafton and Matt DiBenedetto in row two.

In turn four on the first lap, Matt DiBenedetto drifted up the track after pushing Stewart Friesen to the lead, and made contact with the wall. He went on to cut a tire on lap two, hitting the outside wall again and sustaining fairly heavy damage. He would come in for repairs and eventually cycle out several laps down.

On lap seven Hailie Deegan made contact with Ross Chastain following an impressive save, and would cut down a tire. She would have to pit, and fell off the lead lap.

By lap 15, the field was running single-file, led by Stewart Friesen.

With about five laps to go in the first stage, several drives pulled out of the single file line and began challenging for position. While there were some shake-ups back in the field, Stewart Friesen – who had led every lap to that point – held on to win the first stage.

Stage one top-10:

1) Stewart Friesen
2) Grant Enfinger
3) Derek Kraus
4) Christian Eckes
5) Matt Crafton
6) Tanner Gray
7) Chandler Smith
8) Tyler Ankrum
9) Ross Chastain
10) John Hunter Nemechek

Meanwhile, Hailie Deegan was on pit road at the end of stage one, with heavy smoke pouring from her truck. She was pulled from the truck, and sent to the infield care center for smoke inhalation. Her day was ended. She was released from the care center, but declined an interview.

Stage break pit stops saw a number of fuel only stops towards the front of the field. Stewart Friesen would fall back to third, being beaten off pit road by Christian Eckes and Matt Crafton. Friesen would restart the second stage on the inside of the front row however, and would quickly re-take the lead following a strong push from John Hunter Nemechek.

On lap 46, Blaine Perkins made contact with the wall out of turn two while running in 23rd place, and would cut down a tire. Despite this, the green flag stayed out.

The first caution of the day flew on lap 51 for debris on the track falling from the 20 truck of Matt Mills. Puzzlingly, Stewart Friesen pitted from the lead, putting John Hunter Nemechek out front with only five to go in stage two.

After choosing the outside lane for the restart, would lose the lead to Ty Majeski, but would retake it with two to go in the stage before a debris caution (caused by a Ross Chastain cut tire) on the final lap of the stage would see him declared the stage two winner.

Stage two top-10:

1) John Hunter Nemechek
2) Ty Majeski
3) Chandler Smith
4) Christian Eckes
5) Tyler Ankrum
6) Matt Crafton
7) Dean Thompson
8) Tanner Gray
9) Carson Hocevar
10) Ryan Preece

Stage break pit stops saw mostly four tire pit stops with only a few exceptions. Coming back to the green the top-five was: Friesen, Rhodes, Enfinger, Hocevar, Preece. Following the first lap of the final stage, Grant Enfinger would be pushed to the lead and take pint.

Lap 68 saw the first significant incident of the day when Dean Thompson got loose in turn four and slid up the track into Christian Eckes. The ensuing wreck would also collect Lawless Alan, Jack Wood, and Colby Howard. Ross Chastain would receive the free pass. The green flag would fly again on lap 76 with Grant Enfinger out front.

On lap 80 Tate Fogleman spun out of 15th place to bring out a caution. The timing was great for Carson Hocevar, who had developed a significant tire rub on lap 78, and had his tire go down just after the caution flew.

Pit stops would follow. Race leader Grant Enfinger had a huge issue on pit road that saw him run over the tire gun hose, which took him from the lead all the way to the tail of the field. Meanwhile, Ryan Preece would inherit the lead after not pitting, joined by Zane Smith. The green flag would come back out on lap 85 with Ryan Preece and Corey Heim on the front row.

With 45 to go the caution would fly again as Tanner Gray hooked Jordan Anderson getting into turn two, who then slid down the track and collected Tate Fogleman who made heavy contact with the outside wall, ending his day.

The green flag would come back out with 38 to go. Ben Rhodes would jump out to the lead following a strong push from Ty Majeski. Just a few laps later however, Kris Wright would make contact with the wall, prompting another caution.

The race would restart with 29 to go. After a three lap battle, Corey Heim would take over the lead from Ben Rhodes. Heim’s JGR teammate Chandler Smith, who Heim had hung out to dry twice, would hang strong on the inside line battling Heim, and would go on to take the lead himself with 20 to go.

While that battle was taking place, John Hunter Nemechek and Matt Crafton would make contact with the outside wall further back in the field. A caution would not fly, but both trucks would have to pit for repairs and fall out of contention.

With 10 to go, the top seven trucks had broken away from the main pack. The lapped car of John Hunter Nemechek, a teammate of the top two cars of Smith and Heim, cut in line of the lead pack, taking the third spot in line to run interference for his teammates.

On the final lap, Heim took the lead from Chandler Smith in turn one using a strong push from Nemechek, who then blocked the run from the ThorSport teammates behind him to help Corey Heim secure his first career win at just 19 years old.

Final Race Results:

1) Corey Heim
2) Ben Rhodes
3) Ty Majeski
4) Chandler Smith
5) Zane Smith
6) Stewart Friesen
7) Ryan Preece
8) Tanner Gray
9) Derek Kraus
10) Austin Wayne Self
11) Tyler Ankrum
12) Grant Enfinger
13) Jack Wood
14) Chase Purdy
15) Jesse Little
16) Christian Eckes
17) Chris Hacker
18) Jordan Anderson
19) Matt Jaskol
20) Spencer Boyd
21) Kris Wright
22) Timmy Hill
23) Ross Chastain
24) John Hunter Nemechek
25) Matt Crafton
26) Colby Howard
27) Carson Hocevar
28) Brennan Poole
29) Blaine Perkins
30) Matt DiBenedetto
31) Tate Fogleman (DNF)
32) Thad Moffitt (DNF)
33) Lawless Alan (DNF)
34) Dean Thompson (DNF)
35) Matt Mills (DNF)
36) Hailie Deegan (DNF)

Photo credit: Kyle Busch Motorsports Twitter

Published by Walker Skeeter

Walker is a 4th year climatology PhD candidate at the University of Delaware. Despite being a climate scientist, Walker has been a NASCAR fan for over 20 years! His favorite drivers are Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman in cup, and AJ Allmendinger, Tommy Joe Martins, and Ryan Vargas in Xfinity. Outside of racing, he enjoys talking about (and studying) the weather, watching Baltimore sports, and playing video games.

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