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Could Corey Heim Jump Up to the Cup Series Soon?

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Corey Heim and TRICON Garage announced this week that they would team up once again in 2024. Many thought Heim could make the move up to the Xfinity Series in 2024, but that will not happen. A couple of Truck Series drivers including Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith will bypass the Xfinity Series to move straight to the Cup Series, so, can Corey Heim meet that same fate? Let’s analyze that claim, and see what some fans on NASCAR Reddit, who inspired this article, had to say.

A Look at Toyota as a Race Team

Toyota is expanding its’ NASCAR operation in 2024. Legacy Motor Club will join as a key partner race team alongside Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing, meaning Toyota now has eight Cup Series seats. All of those are filled for 2024, but what about beyond?

Joe Gibbs Racing has Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, and likely Ty Gibbs pretty well set beyond 2024. 23XI Racing has Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick locked up for the foreseeable future. Legacy Motor Club is an interesting one as John Hunter Nemechek was only announced to drive the car in 2024, but there were no public promises he would be there beyond 2024. Erik Jones signed a multi-year contract extension in 2022, so he is with the team through 2024 at least.

Martin Truex Jr. is also an interesting case since he was reportedly mulling retirement throughout the early part of the season. That means a Joe Gibbs Racing seat could be open heading into 2025.

There is some flexibility that Toyota has heading into 2025, and it’s possible they could be looking for a new driver in one of their teams at some point. Corey Heim could fill that role, but you also have to look at Toyota’s Xfinity Series roster.

No one knows who will drive for JGR in the Xfinity Series, but, depending on the performance of those drivers, Heim could be seen as the team’s top prospect heading into 2025. Now, that would mean that whoever drives for JGR in the Xfinity Series would have to either struggle or Heim would have to massively overperform, but, it could happen.

What Allowed Smith and Hocevar to Jump up in 2025.

Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith both had one thing in common that allowed them to jump up to Cup in 2025, experience. Hocevar is in his third full-time Truck Series season, and Smith is in his fourth full-time Truck Series season. On top of that, both have experience in the Next-Gen car.

Smith has eight races of experience in the Cup Series in 2023 so far along with one race in 2022. Hocevar has seven races so far in 2023 in the Next-Gen car, and he will drive two more races for Legacy Motor Club to finish out the season.

Experience is not something that is on Heim’s side at the Cup level, but. at the Truck Series level, he has a solid amount of experience. He is in his first full-time season, but he drove 16 races in the Truck Series in 2022 along with two in 2021. 2024 will essentially be his third Truck Series season, which is not far off from either Hocevar or Smith.

While he has no Next-Gen seat time as of yet, if Toyota wants him in the Cup Series, they will find a way to get him seat time. It’s just a matter of whether or not they want to push Heim that quickly.

In the Stands

Now, what did the fans on NASCAR Reddit have to say about Corey Heim potentially making the move to Cup. Some had interesting ideas for how it could happen.

AnotherScoutMain looks at how similar the Truck Series car is to the Next-Gen as a reason to move Heim up.

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TheRealCheeeser00 says that Heim could replace Truex or Hamlin.

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crypto6g theorizes that there could be some bad blood between Ty Gibbs and Corey Heim.

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DannyBones00 says it is all about money and funding.

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MountainLPYT1 says that John Hunter Nemechek could take over for Truex and Heim could slot into that 42 car.

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Can Corey Heim make the jump up to Cup in 2025? Maybe it is too soon, but maybe it is the right time.

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