A lack of fans in attendance failed to take anything away from two intense Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour races that saw Corey Heim obtain his first victory in a Late Model, while Bubba Pollard outdueled Matt Craig to obtain the win in the SLM feature.

Pollard initially struggled to gain track position at the beginning of the race, but he admitted that he got his car right where he needed it to be for him to make a charge at Craig during the closing stages.

“I kind of fell back there on low air pressure, and I needed to let my tires build up before I could take off and build some momentum,” Pollard said. “We were able to work our way up to sixth and we just picked our way through, and [Matt’s] car and my car were about equal there at the end.”

After taking the lead from Kodie Conner on Lap 3, Craig proceeded to pull away from the rest of the field while simultaneously saving his tires to ensure that his car was strong enough to hold off any potential late-race charges.

Pollard proved to be up to the challenge by methodically working his way through the field and lap traffic to put himself right on the back bumper of Craig as the laps gradually wound down.

With less than five laps remaining, Pollard managed to pull alongside Craig for the lead. The duo would trade paint on several occasions and remained side by side as the white flag was displayed.

Pollard began to gain an advantage on the bottom of the track, which forced Craig to drive his car hard into Turn 3 on the final lap. Craig was unable to make his car stick on the high side and ended up losing control, which handed the victory to Pollard.

“I got a little free off of two on the white flag lap and I was trying to grab that little bit of extra throttle and I messed up,” Craig said. “I was out of control on the whole back straightaway, but that was a good race. We won the battle at the Throwback 276 last year and Bubba won the battle today, so that was good, hard racing.”

Pollard, who was tagged with a five-race suspension following a post-race altercation between him and Craig during the 2019 Throwback 276, affirmed that he did not forget about their history and was determined to get the most out of his car and beat Craig to the checkered flag.

“I race Matt more aggressive now than ever,” Pollard said. “I’m not going to back down from him and I’m not going to give him and inch because he doesn’t deserve an inch. I raced him smart, but I didn’t race him dirty. I didn’t tag him from the back. I waited until the last lap and I was able to get a run on him.”

Once Pollard was done with his victory celebrations, the Solid Rock Carriers CARS LMSC Tour took to the track for their feature, where Heim was able to pull away for the win after passing Layne Riggs halfway through the event.

Heim wanted to secure that first Late Model victory after being disqualified from two victories at South Boston and coming up short in the 2018 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville, but he knew that he would have to be patient to accomplish that goal at Hickory.

“The first half involved a lot of riding and feeling things out,” Heim said. “I wanted to see what both [Layne Riggs] and [Ryan Millington] had, but the tires were definitely there for me on the longer run, and if I had control of the race, then I could really set sail.”

Heim led the opening 20 laps until Riggs utilized the high line to pass him for the lead. Heim would get the lead back from Riggs on a Lap 30 restart, but it would only take a dozen laps for Riggs to once again take control of the top spot.

A competition caution allowed Heim to regroup and make another charge at Riggs. On Lap 76, Heim pulled alongside Riggs and took control of the lead, which he would not surrender for the remainder of the race.

Riggs did everything possible to try and gain momentum on the high side of the track, but his car got loose during the second half of the feature, which caused him to fade to fifth place by the time the checkered flag was displayed.

“We’ve been working on the setup of the car and it keeps getting free somehow,” Riggs said. “We just need to do more testing and keep working on the car, but we need to be prepared when something like that happens. This is just new to us and we’re learning along the way.”

A spin by Millington with 14 laps to go did not deter Heim, as he was able to get another great restart and pull away from the rest of the field. Gage Painter finished a distant second while Nolan Pope came home in third.

Heim credited everyone at Lee Pulliam Performance for consistently putting together great cars for him, but he admitted that finally breaking his winless drought in Late Models came with tremendous relief.

“That car definitely deserved to win,” Heim said. “That car has been so good to us, but we’ve just had some bad luck here and there. We should have won a bunch of big races, but getting such a big win in the CARS Tour tonight feels awesome, especially with this car.”

The Solid Rock Carriers CARS SLM Tour will return to action on July 4 for a grand prize of $20,000 in the Thomas Automotive American Freedom 200 at Jennerstown Speedway, while the next race for the LMSC division will take place on July 11 for the Crystal Coast 125 at Carteret County Speedway.

SLM Feature Results:

1. 26 Bubba Pollard
2. 51 Chandler Smith
3. 54 Matt Craig
4. 35 Carson Kvapil
5. 45 Kodie Conner
6. 1 Nolan Pope
7. 51s Sammy Smith
8. 22 Trevor Noles
9. 35 Jake Garcia
10. 01 Jake Crum
11. 20 Harrison Halder
12. 9 Hudson Halder -1
13. 49 Jeff Batten -1
14. 7j Justin Crider -1
15. 7 Jeremy Barclay -3
16. 7c Tyler Church OUT

LMSC Feature Results:

  1. 78 Corey Heim
  2. 12 Gage Painter
  3. 1 Nolan Pope
  4. 14 Jared Fryar
  5. 99 Layne Riggs
  6. 1m Craig Moore
  7. 22 Bobby McCarty
  8. 2 Brandon Pierce
  9. 19 Drew Dollar
  10. 8 Connor Mosack
  11. 81b Sam Butler
  12. 08 Deac McCaskill
  13. 44 Justin Johnson
  14. 16 Chad McCumbee
  15. 77 Trevor Ward
  16. 41 Adam Lemke
  17. 63 Tyler Matthews
  18. 74 Ronald Hill
  19. 4 Jonathan Findley
  20. 2s Jonathan Shafer
  21. 19c Jessica Cann
  22. 51 Matt Cox
  23. 15 Ryan Millington OUT
  24. 11 Dillon Houser OUT
  25. 81 Mini Tyrrell OUT