Corey Heim won Saturday’s General Tire 200 from the Talladega Superspeedway, taking the lead from Bret Holmes on the final lap and held off Dave Mader III and Nick Sanchez at the checkered flag.
Ty Gibbs started the 76-lap race on the pole position and shared the front row with Bret Holmes who the 18-year-old worked with as a drafting partner. Gibbs took to the outside on the initial start with Holmes letting him in line. Gibbs lead the opening lap.
Within the opening five laps, Gracie Trotter had a tire get cut and derailed her day. Richard Garvie and Dave Mader made contact going into the first turn, sending Garvie up the track into Trotter’s left front General Tire. With no caution flag flying, Trotter lost a lap changing the tire and was never able to recover all day.
With morning rain, ARCA Menards Series officials announced a competition caution at lap 10. Before that point, Bret Holmes, then Corey Heim took over the top spot from Gibbs with Gibbs pushing Holmes back ahead on lap 10 just before the caution flew.
After the restart, defending race winner Drew Dollar took the lead on lap 23 with a push from his Venturini Motorsports teammate of Heim.
After a single file run, the racing heated up just prior the halfway break. Gibbs yet again pushed Holmes’ No. 23 Chevrolet back to the top spot on lap 37, however, the push was too big and resulted in the pack running over Holmes. Dollar was able to take back the top spot with Heim pushing just before the caution flew.
With about 20 laps remaining, Dollar was leading over Heim, Holmes, Gibbs and Greg Van Alst. In an attempt to split up the pair of Venturini machines, Gibbs and Holmes forced Heim into the middle of track through the tri-oval and shuffled his JBL Toyota to the back of the line. On the following lap, Gibbs nudged Dollar out of the way to take the lead and resulted in a three-wide battle for the top spot.
With the three-wide battle, the two Venturini Camrys became split up and Gibbs lead the field around the bottom lane, while Dollar stayed in control of the top lane.
With 17 to go, Holmes slingshot around Gibbs to reclaim the top spot.
The first crash of the day broke out with 15 laps remaining. Through the tri-oval, Nick Sanchez clipped the rear of Greg Van Alst’s No. 35 and it spun Van Alst down the track into Ty Gibbs. Gibbs spun into the inside wall while Van Alst spun up the track and was struck again by John Ferrier. All of their days were over as the red flag flew to clean up oil.
Sanchez was chewed out by his spotter for the contact. Tyler Green, who primarily spots for Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Cup Series, hammered in the point to the young Miami-native after the crash to push through the tri-oval.
On the ensuing restart, contact between Heim and Dollar sent Derrick Lancaster into the wall on the backstretch. Heim and Dollar checked up to prevent them from wrecking themselves, while hitting Lancaster’s No. 29 Toyota, who shot up the track and fiercely impacted the wall. The shunt imminently caught the Camry on fire and Lancaster attempted to stop the car as soon as possible, but ended up in the third turn’s grass ablaze.
Lancaster got out of the car under his own power, but laid down next to the burning machine while being attended to by the AMR Safety Crew. NASCAR announced the 48-year-old has been transported to a local hospital for evaluation. There’s no news on Lancaster’s condition at the time of this article being published.
ARCA red flagged the event yet again while the response team worked with Lancaster. The race would resume with just a single lap remaining.
On the one-lap shootout, Holmes had the lead and had a large lead through the second corner. With the field lined up two-by-two behind the Alabama driver, Holmes went to the middle lane to block the run, but the momentum the cars behind was too much for Holmes to block with both lanes flying by the reigning series champion.
Heim was able to regain the lead through the shuffle. Dave Mader was pushing Nick Sanchez behind Heim, Sanchez shot high in an attempt to pass Heim while Mader ducked low. Heim was able to hold both of them off as Mader beat Sanchez to the finish line for third.
The win for Heim is his third in his short ARCA Menards Series career. It marks a season sweep at the Superspeedway tracks after a win at Daytona International Speedway in February. All three of Heim’s wins have come in the last four series races, dating back to the season-finale at Kansas Speedway last October.
2021 General Tire 200 Results (Talladega Superspeedway):
Fin.: Driver (No.) – Laps
1: Corey Heim (20) – 76
2: Dave Mader III (63) – 76
3: Nick Sanchez (6) – 76
4: Drw Dollar (15) – 76
5: Bret Holmes (23) – 76
6: Thad Moffitt (46) – 76
7: Andy Jankowiak (73) – 76
8: Kyle Sieg (28) – 76
9: Eric Caudell (7) – 76
10: Scott Melton (69) – 76
11: Jack Wood (21) – 76
12: Toni Breidinger (02) – 76
13: Ed Pompa (10) – 76
14: Ryan Huff (36) – 76
15: Jason Kitzmiller (97) – 76
16: Michael Harper (01) – 76
17: Thomas Praytor (9) – 76
18: Bryan Dauzat (57) – 76
19: D.L. Wilson (12) – 76
20: Con Nicolopoulos (06) – 74
21: Benny Chastain (94) – 74
22: Gracie Trotter (25) – 74
23: Derrick Lancaster (29) – 71
24: Timmy Richmond (27) – 70
25: Richard Garvie (11) – 64
26: Greg Van Alst (35) – 61
27: Ty Gibbs (18) – 61
28: John Ferrier (44) – 61
29: Brad Smith (48) – 51