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How Will Corey Heim Make It to the Cup Series Full-Time?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Corey Heim is one of the top prospects in NASCAR right now. Toyota has arranged for him to get a third Cup Series start this season, driving the No. 50 car for 23XI Racing at Nashville. Beyond that, how can Heim get into the Cup Series full-time?

  • Corey Heim is second in the Craftsman Truck Series points with two wins this season. He has also finished in the top-10 in all but one race.
  • Toyota has a crowded prospect pipeline but is particularly interested in Corey Heim. Safelite and Mobil-1, two Toyota-related companies, are sponsoring Heim this season. Heim was also Toyota’s pick to be Erik Jones’s reserve driver at Dover and Kansas.
  • Fans are excited to see what Corey Heim can do in the Cup Series. The question is, when will that time come?

When Could Heim Jump Up?

Corey Heim is in his second full-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, and for both years, he’s clearly been one of the top drivers in the series. Add to that 16 races in the series in 2022 with 2 wins. As we said when we wrote about Jesse Love, multiple years in the lower series is typically how long drivers wait before they head to the Cup Series.

Full-Time Xfinity SeasonsFull-Time Truck SeasonsTotal Full-Time Lower Series Seasons
Tyler Reddick224
John Hunter Nemechek123
Christopher Bell224
Ty Gibbs101
Chase Briscoe213
Austin Cindric415
Todd Gilliland033
Harrison Burton213
Noah Gragson426
Carson Hocevar033
Zane Smith044
Josh Berry202

Normally, drivers take about 3 or 4 years before jumping up to Cup, but, the only driver to jump up after 2 seasons, Josh Berry, has a similar story to Heim. Berry made 22 Xfinity Series starts in 2021, winning 2 races. Heim is about at the point where most drivers would jump up to Cup.

Add to that Heim’s Cup Series performances this season. The fact that he was considered to sub for Erik Jones at Legacy Motor Club says a lot about how Toyota feels. He recorded top-25 results in both races, including a top-20 qualifying run. He got the most out of his equipment.

Heim is more than capable of jumping up to Cup in 2025. The question is, will the ride open up for him?

Who Could He Drive For?

There are three Toyota teams in the NASCAR Cup Series, Joe Gibbs Racing, 23XI Racing, and Legacy Motor Club. Each team could have seats open for 2025, but, it’s uncertain.

Joe Gibbs Racing is the most obvious one with Martin Truex Jr. retiring. However, JGR also has Chandler Smith waiting in the wings. He’s currently third in Xfinity Series points with two wins. Heim’s path with this team could run through Smith.

Legacy Motor Club and 23XI Racing each depend on one thing, the charter situation. They’ve both been named as teams potentially looking for a charter. However, the current charter situation is a fuzzy one.

Denny Hamlin recently downplayed 23XI Racing’s interest in charters, and this team has been one of the most vocal during the current charter negotiations. Legacy Motor Club hasn’t been as popular of a pick for charters at other teams like Trackhouse, Front Row, or 23XI. Add to that our most recent report that the current rumor is that SHR is selling all 4 charters to Trackhouse and Front Row.

Should this come to fruition, Heim will likely have no extra seat available at Toyota. He’d have to take over for someone at 23XI or Legacy Motor Club.

Bubba Wallace’s contract is likely not up until the end of 2025 at the earliest, and Tyler Reddick has become one of the top drivers at 23XI Racing. At Legacy Motor Club. Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek’s contracts are unknown.

Could Heim take over at Legacy Motor Club for Jones or Nemechek? He could, but, Jones has won with the team before, and Nemechek is only in his first season. If Toyota really wants Heim in the Cup Series, they might slot Heim in over one of these two, but it’s unlikely.

Corey Heim’s path to the Cup Series is not as easy as some may think. However, he will likely be in the Cup Series sooner rather than later.

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Joshua Lipowski

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