NASCAR announced Wednesday that Craftsman Truck Series driver Corey Heim has been fined $12,500 and docked 25 driver points for intentionally wrecking competitor Carson Hocevar in Friday night's Truck Series Championship Race. The penalty drops Heim from third to fourth in the final Truck Series championship standings.
After winning the Truck Series regular-season championship and cruising through the Truck Series playoffs, Heim qualified for the Championship 4 and appeared to be well on his way to his first Truck title, leading 47 laps from the pole and appearing to have prohibitively the fastest truck of any championship-eligible driver. But things went awry with 31 laps to go when Carson Hocevar, another Championship 4 driver who had been racing Heim for the championship position, clipped and spun Heim in Turn 1.
Heim was able to continue and drove back into the top 10, but damage sustained to his right rear fender changed the handling of his truck and made it impossible for Heim to get back into the championship position. Once Heim's chances of winning the championship were over in the closing laps, Heim proceeded to back up from where he had been running to where Hocevar was running on-track, hanging a right into Hocevar and putting him in the wall with three laps to go, destroying Hocevar's truck and bringing out the caution.
The intentional wreck by Heim not only ended Hocevar's race, but it also dramatically altered the outcome of the Truck Series championship. Grant Enfinger had been pulling away from Ben Rhodes and was en route to the title prior to the caution for Hocevar's crash, but he would end up losing the title to Rhodes in a series of events that unfolded over multiple overtime restarts.
Heim denied wrongdoing in post-race, but NASCAR determined through a review of Heim's radio transmissions that he violated the sport's member code of conduct (Sections 4.4.B & D of the NASCAR Rule Book), including "Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race or championship", "Wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result", and "Any actions deemed to compromise the safety of an Event or otherwise pose a dangerous risk to the safety of Competitors, Officials, spectators, or others."
Interestingly, NASCAR did not choose to suspend Heim for any races in 2024 despite past precedent on parking drivers for intentionally causing crashes. Earlier this year, the sanctioning body parked Cup Series star Chase Elliott for one race after determining he intentionally wrecked Denny Hamlin during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.
Heim, 21, is set to return to TRICON Garage's Truck Series team in 2024 after winning three times in 2023 with 12 top five and 19 top-10 finishes.