Hunter Robbins took the Southern Super Series championship lead with a P2.
It looked like a matter of plug and play for Corey Heim as he became the latest driver to climb behind the wheel of a Donnie Wilson Motorsports Super Late Model and drive it to Victory Lane.
This time it comes in the Georgia Summer Nationals and at his home short track in Watermelon Capital Speedway. It’s the second time this year that Heim has won at a home track following a NASCAR Truck Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway as well.
It was also a dominant victory as it came wire-to-wire and leading all 125 laps.
Donnie Wilson Motorsports continues to dominate the industry with Heim joining William Byron, Sammy Smith and William Sawalich as winners of 11 races in either the No. 22 or No. 24 Hamke Race Car chassis.
Heim led every lap but said it required more work than he intended because he had never driven a Hamke and didn’t want to dial out the most successful team over the past calendar year.
"We worked on it throughut the day yesterday and I was cautiously optimistic when we unloaded," Heim said. "Having never driven a Hamke or one of these Donnie Wilson cars. We did a lot of things to help it and made a lot of changes, more than I expected.
"I showed up not wanting to overadjust because I know how good these guys are. I didn't want to over-adjust to the point where they get into the unknown and make us loose or tight or whatever. But I trusted my gut, loosened us up from where we were in practice and it worked out for us."
Hunter Robbins took second from Bubba Pollard on Lap 44 and continued to ride around four or five seconds behind Heim -- largely matching lap times with the Wilson No. 24.
The race went flag to flag and Robbins kind of wishes he had a caution and restart to see where he matched up.
"He got out there and we couldn’t afford to burn our stuff up trying to chase him," Robbins said. "So, we just started matching lap time, and lap time. I didn’t want it to be bad on our end and go backwards because we used our stuff up trying to catch him.
"Odds our, we would have been really close if I had in hindsight, but I’m sure he was saving some too."
Heim didn’t want to see a restart either, to Robbins’ point.
"It was a good qualifying effort but lucky with the draw too, starting second because I’m not sure it would have been the same story if we started sixth and had to work harder," Heim said. "Dirty air and track position is a thing here and I’m glad we started out front and could stay there.
"Phenomenal effort by everyone at Donnie Wilson Motorsports."
Robbins entered the weekend 10 points out of the Southern Super Series championship lead but leaves with an advantage due to Bubba Pollard falling out of the race on Lap 61 and finishing 16th. Pollard started on the pole after posting the third fastest time in qualifications.
His rear tires were glowing dramatically near the end of his race, and he was concerned they would catch on fire before he parked it.
As a result, Robbins controls the championship battle that will conclude at Five Flags Speedway on September 24.
"We’ve never even been close to that, so to be there and to have a chance at the Blizzard Series too, it would be a great year for a team like ours," Robbins said. "We have really nice equipment and we should be performing but we’re a different kind of race team.
"We’re all volunteer help at night and work on these cars after work. We’re trying really hard and our results are there. We just need a little bit more or a little more luck on our side."
Stephen Nasse finished third on Saturday night and it was both a satisfying result, while also giving him a chance at the Southern Super Series championship too, albeit a distant shot that would require both Robbins and Pollard to falter at Pensacola.
"Definitely better than I thought we were going to be after practice," Nasse said. "We can’t seem to quite hit on what we need. It’s not from a lack of effort from everyone at Jett Motorsports. It’s hard and we’re not getting the results we’re working for.
"But we can’t be too mad about third place. The car is in one piece and we have something to work towards at Pensacola in a couple of weeks."
Southern Super Series Georgia Summer Nationals Watermelon Capital Speedway August 20 2022
-Story by Matt Weaver for Racing America