DAYTONA BEACH — Corey Heim completed Venturini Motorsports’ drive for five at Daytona International Speedway.
Heim, an 18-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, led the final 38 laps and held off pole-sitter Drew Dollar for victory in Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 — the season-opening race for the ARCA Menards Series.
A short-track specialist, Heim had no superspeedway experience prior to rolling off the starting grid.
“It’s really difficult to put into words right now,” Heim said.
Venturini, on the other hand, has made visiting Victory Lane a habit at Daytona. The Toyota team extended its winning streak to five consecutive ARCA series events at the World Center of Racing, including last summer’s event on the road course.
Last month, Venturini tapped Heim as its full-time driver in order to chase the series championship.
Heim scored his first series win in last season’s finale at Kansas Speedway.
“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence,” Heim said. “Starting the year like this, especially when there’s a huge car count, will do wonders for the rest of my season.”
Fox Sports recently ranked Heim 18th among its 20 up-and-coming prospects across NASCAR’s national developmental series.
Heim and the other leaders formed a single-file line for most of the final 25 laps. Victory looked like it could be relatively routine until Scott Reeves blew a tire and smacked the Turn 4 wall at the other end of the field.
That set the stage for a one-lap overtime restart. Heim opted for the outside lane but darted in front of Dollar, and the duo surged clear of the chasing pack.
Dollar, who finished 10th in Friday’s NASCAR Truck Series race, earned the pole before morning showers threatened to derail the day’s events with a top speed of 181.859 mph. However, significant damage to the left front panel of his car slowed him down in the draft.
“I actually thought we were going to have two (laps) to go there,” Dollar said. “In my head, I was going to wave off the teammate restart and try to get a good start on my own. I just couldn’t take off, and he got in front of us. I didn’t have any other choice but to push him because I knew others would be coming.”
Toyota occupied three of the top four slots. Ty Gibbs, the 18-year-old grandson of longtime Cup Series team owner and Hall of Fame football coach Joe Gibbs, settled for fourth place.
Bret Holmes placed third in the No. 23 Chevrolet, and Kyle Sieg rounded out the top-five.
Gracie Trotter, who became the first female driver to win an ARCA-sanctioned event last November, started second but struggled to recover after a Lap 29 wreck with Venturini teammate Derek Griffith. She ended in 23rd place, four laps down.
ARCA Menards Series results: Lucas Oil 200
Saturday at Daytona International Speedway
1. Corey Heim
2. Drew Dollar
3. Bret Holmes
4. Ty Gibbs
5. Kyle Sieg
6. Derrick Lancaster
7. Tanner Gray
8. Andrew Jankowiak
9. Jack Wood
10. Sean Corr
11. Jason Kitzmiller
12. John Ferrier
13. Howie DiSavino
14. Jason White
15. Rich Bickle
16. Eric Caudell
17. Richard Garvie
18. Toni Breidinger
19. Tim Richmond
20. Benny Chastain
21. Thad Moffitt
22. Con Nicolopoulos
23. Gracie Trotter
24. Scott Reeves
25. Chuck Hiers
26. Dave Mader III
27. DL Wilson
28. Willie Mullins
29. Greg Van Alst
30. Derek Griffith
31. Nick Sanchez
32. Scott Melton
33. Owen Smith
34. Brittany Zamora