Sam Hunt Racing driver Corey Heim was provided to the media ahead of his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Dover Motor Speedway on Friday:
COREY HOME, #24 Toyota Genuine Parts Toyota GR Supra, Sam Hunt Racing
Can you tell us what it means to make your debut in the Xfinity series this weekend?
“It means a lot to me personally. If you grew up with the Xfinity series and aspire to be at a high level one day, this is a great opportunity. With Toyota Racing I feel like we have grown together over the last few years with our KBM days (Kyle Busch Motorsports) and now TRICON and have really had a lot of success along the way. I’m really looking forward to getting started with our GR Supra this weekend. Sam Hunt and his racing team have gone through a lot in recent years to improve their program and organization. I am very proud of the hard work these guys have put in and I look forward to getting started.”
How does not having time in the car before the race affect you?
“It’s definitely tough. It’s certainly good to do the laps, but I drove an ARCA car here a few years ago, so those laps are definitely important to get used to and really understand what these cars are like. The same situation happened with the truck in Darlington a few years ago. I didn’t have practice or qualifying and they waved the green flag and you hoped for the best and we should have finished well that day too. I hope for a similar feeling. We prepared on the simulator with Toyota Racing and TRD and all the preparation I did on the sidelines just got me ready for this race. I am very grateful to everyone for everything they do at Sam Hunt Racing, Toyota Racing, TRD. I look forward to getting into my GR Supra tomorrow afternoon.”
What have you been doing to prepare for your debut in the Xfinity series?
“It’s been a good couple of months where the truck schedule hasn’t been super, super busy, I got some extra sim time with Toyota Racing and TRD and also got to see a lot of people at the Toyota Performance Center as the drivers go and pick each other some heads out who have done a lot of laps here like the current Xfinity series drivers for Toyota Racing and also some cup boys. Toyota Racing gives us a lot of access to everything we need in terms of the face to face interactions we need from everyone who has been here a lot and has done a lot of simulator work and also studied some movies and all the other basic stuff, so that was all, what I could get my hands on or actually look at to come here and be as prepared as possible, good for me. I feel really prepared, so I’m looking forward to it.”
How much did you win at Martinsville to motivate your team and teammates?
“It was huge for us and especially for me personally. It takes some stress off for the year. It’s definitely difficult moving to a new team, but everyone at TRICON really welcomed me into their new program. They put a lot of hard work into the offseason. Going from three trucks to five was tough for them and changing manufacturers and all the new people coming through the door was tough for them to get used to but I feel like they did a great job staying motivated and staying determined and knowing that the first win would come eventually. The first is always the hardest and I think the rest will follow.”
What did you learn from your ARCA start here that can prepare you for this weekend?
“I think Dover is a circuit with a lot of feeling – you just have to understand where you are on the circuit and where you have to position yourself to be successful. I feel like it’s not a super technical track, but you can definitely put yourself in a bad position at the wrong time and get out of the race quickly. I just need to understand the basics around this place and all laps are good laps even if it’s a completely different engine package as far as less horsepower with ARCA or other downforce etc. I have a feeling they’re still good rounds, good quality rounds. Without this race, this circuit would definitely be a little less familiar to me, but even though I did this race three years ago, it’s still valuable to have those laps that I did.”