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Found 7 results

  1. Chad Heath just misses another top-10 in Ardmore; Maine native gains 12 spots in stout 29-car field LAMESA, Texas (May 3, 2021) — After steady rains in north Texas put a major damper on his racing plans, IMCA Southern Sport Mod driver Chad Heath returned to the ovals this past Saturday night, charging from 23rd to earn a respectable 11th-place finish at Southern Oklahoma Speedway. Heath was in full scramble mode in the days leading up Saturday's contest, with damage to repair from a recent outing in Abilene, TX, and the usual setup work to accomplish. Once he arrived at the track, he realized the car counts were up and it would be a challenge to score more valuable IMCA points. “With all of the rain-outs that have been happening around Texas, the pits were packed in Ardmore on Saturday,” Heath said. “With the TOMS Mod tour there, 30 Sport Mods and all of their other classes, it was pretty full. A lot of guys who don't usually run there were looking to score points, just as I was.” When it came time for the heats, Heath knew it was time to get up on the wheel. It was go, or miss out. “I need to work on my heat race setup for that track a little more, because I seem to struggle in those heats. I finished sixth in mine, which put me in 23rd for the feature. With 29 cars starting, I knew what I had to do. It's a good thing the place is so wide, because I had to use it all.” Once they waved the green flag for the A Main, Heath did what he does best. He settled in, stayed focused and began his march forward as the car's handling started to come around. Despite a field full of heavy-hitters from around the region, he managed to wheel his way almost up into the top-10. “The track was getting pretty rough as the night progressed,” Heath added. “There were some ruts down on the bottom, but I managed to use that line at times to pass a few cars. They kept the top dry-slick, or at least it was drier than the bottom was. I passed some high, and I passed a few down low. “I was shooting for a top-10 again, obviously, but fell a little short. I just needed to race and earn some more points towards that IMCA National Rookie-of-the-Year crown I'm chasing. The trip paid off, even if we missed the top 10. I love racing in Ardmore, that track has so much room to race it's a blast.” Heath, like every other racer in north Texas and across the entire Lone Star State, will hope for warm sunshine this week so he can return to the tracks he loves to run. Steady rains have eased the severe drought conditions which have plagued the southern plains, they just haven't done much for race teams. Next up for Chad and the No. 09k Sport Mod entry is a return visit to Boyd Raceway on Friday, May 7. (Photo credit: Mike Frieri)
  2. Chad Heath scores second top-10 finish at Boyd, Battles through adversity at Cotton Bowl LAMESA, Texas (April 12, 2021) — When short track racers imitate baseball teams and pull off a string of doubleheaders, there are bound to be a few weekends when it's a split between good and bad. For 40-year-old IMCA Southern Sport Mod driver Chad Heath, a Friday-Saturday Twin-bill this past weekend brought a mixed bag of results. The Maine native salvaged a solid eighth-place finish despite a mechanical failure on Friday night at Boyd Raceway, then battled to a 16th-place finish at Cotton Bowl on Saturday. It began with a fourth-place finish in his Heat at Boyd, which placed him fifth in the lineup for a 20-lap A Main. Windy conditions made for a dry, slick track, yet Heath's chassis setup kept him in contention. “The car was handling well, but I could hear something in the rear of the car and knew I had something broken in the drive-train,” Heath said. “I tore it apart after the feature and discovered the issue, it had broken pieces of gears and would need a rebuild. I had to pull off the track with two laps remaining.” After a visual inspection to that damaged rear end revealed extensive damage, Heath chose to head south to Paige, Texas, home of Cotton Bowl Speedway. Once there, Heath and his friend Mike Fortier got the parts replaced, but also discovered a bent axle. That also got replaced, and it time for Hot Laps. “Our Saturday turned out to be pretty busy working on the car, but on paid off,” Heath explained. “It was fast during my Heat, and it was fast in the feature. I was involved in an incident, was put to the rear and had to work my way back up through the field. I was up to 10th at one point prior to that setback.” The altercation with another racer at Cotton Bowl saw the two men having a civil conversation in the pit area. Feelings were expressed, and after that chat the incident was put behind them. Short track racing is often an emotionally-charged sport; how you control those feelings is what matters most. A rough outing at Cotton Bowl was truly the first real setback Heath has endured in 2021. Thus far since he kicked things off at the Southern Stampede in Ardmore, Oklahoma, he's made 10 starts, has posted one top-five and six top-10 finishes. Not bad for only his second full season of racing. “Saturday night was less than ideal, but overall our season continues to go fairly well,” Heath added. “Things get intense at times no mater where we race, but that is part of the game. This hobby takes lots of time and money, so everybody wants to get the best results they can. We all battle for the same spots. “I've already fixed the front bumper of my car and repaired the sheet metal damage. I know there will be more contact this season but hope I can steer clear of the carnage. It's an ongoing battle I enjoy.” Next up for the self-proclaimed 'Dysfunctional Veteran' is yet another twin-bill of racing on Friday and Saturday nights. At this time, it looks like another trip to Boyd and ride to Southern Oklahoma ahead. Heath is a proud U.S Military Veteran who served our country in Iraq. To fulfill his lifelong dream of being out on the short tracks on the weekends is making his civilian life truly satisfying and rewarding. To follow this dedicated IMCA racer all season, go to www.facebook.com/chadheath09k. (Photo credit: Rachel Plant)
  3. Chad Heath scores top-10 finish in debut at Boyd Raceway, Earns more valuable IMCA points in Southern Oklahoma LAMESA, Texas (April 5, 2021) — Maine native and sophomore dirt track driver Chad Heath scored a solid top-10 finish in his debut at Boyd Raceway (Boyd, TX) on Friday, then capped the weekend with a respectable 13th-place run Saturday in his third race of the season at Southern Oklahoma Speedway. Heath drove the Wicked Race Cars-built No. 09k entry to a fourth-place finish in his Heat at Boyd. After making a few changes to his setup, he started the A Main 10th in a 14-car field. With some heads-up driving and a better-handling car, he powered on to cross the stripe in seventh place. “I really loved racing at Boyd Raceway,” Heath said. “It did get dry-slick early in the night, I think the wind had an affect on track conditions. I learned as the night went on and came away with another top-10 finish. It's what I need to do this year as the competition in Sport Mod becomes more intense.” On Saturday, it was back north to Ardmore, Oklahoma, for a return visit to the beautiful Southern Oklahoma Speedway. The DFW Local Late Models were in town, which meant a dry, slick track right off the bat. Saturday also saw Heath changing out a bad axle and seal, with a fellow racer helping out. “Dan Day and I raced door-to-door Friday night at Boyd, but when he saw me having problems on Saturday he walked over to offer me a new axle,” Heath said. “I really appreciated that, and hope I am earning respect from these guys. The axle and new seal got me back on track for Saturday night.” Day, of Farmersville, Texas, finished eighth in the A Main, while his son Matthew finished third. There was one rather scary moment in qualifying, when a car spun directly in front of Heath. “I saw him snap around and really had to yank the car quickly to get out around the outside of him,” Heath explained. “I somehow managed to steer clear of him and avoid the outside retaining wall. It got my attention, I'll tell you that. It always pays to be alert, because things happen pretty fast out there.” In the A Main, Heath's read end problems had vanished, yet he had another small problem to battle. “I was losing air in my right front tire towards the end, but there was enough left in it to limp on home,” a dejected Heath explained after his disappointing 13th-place finish. “I'm always striving to land inside the top 10, but last night it just got away from us. Overall, it was still a solid weekend.” Heath is chasing IMCA Southern Sport Mod Rookie-of-the-Year points, and continues to lead the national standings. As of the previous weekend's races (through March 27), Heath led by 61 points over Ricky Johnston. It's still relatively early with tons of racing, yet it's a strong start towards achieving that goal. “It is a grind with all of this travel, running at two tracks every weekend,” Heath added. “But I'm going to keep going to different tracks as often as I can. I am learning how to adapt to different layouts, and I'm earning maximum points towards my ROTY goal. I'm having fun and learning a ton every week.” Up next for Chad Heath Racing and the No. 09k IMCA Southern Sport Mod entry is another two-race weekend on April 9-10, more than likely featuring a return visit to Boyd on Friday and to Ardmore on Saturday. To follow the team's progress all season long, go to www.facebook.com/chadheath09k.
  4. LAMESA, Texas (March 28, 2021) — With temperatures going up and race season in full swing throughout the deep south, it's starting to feel a lot like summer for one Maine native now racing in Texas and Oklahoma. Chad Heath continued his busy string of short track races, posting respectable finishes at the Heart O' Texas Speedway (Elm Mott) and Cotton Bowl Speedway (Paige) over the weekend. Friday he started 19th and drove to a 16th-place finish at HoT and capped the weekend with an 8th-place run (after starting eighth) at CBS. “I found Heart O' Texas to be a fast, slick and challenging track,” Heath said. “With the Late Models there, it got slick earlier than normal. I struggled in my heat and tried to get ready for the B Main. As we rolled out onto the track for that, they called us back in and told us we all had made the A Main.” That decision by officials prevented Heath from risking damage to his car before the feature. It offered a chance to adjust and prepare for the A Main, a race Heath knew would be intense. “The competition in Southern Sport Mods at Heart O' Texas is some of the most intense in the entire state,” Heath said. “I figured it was a good chance to see how I measure up against those guys, to see if I could run with them. I had a few scary moments, but we earned some points and didn't wreck the car.” On Saturday, it was off to the friendly confines of Cotton Bowl, where promoter Mary Ann Naumann and her staff were hosting Round 2 of their 2021 scheduled points races. The No. 09k Wicked Race Cars-built entry of Heath was fast in qualifying, with a third-place finish in his Heat. “Conditions were a lot more like the day I tested there a month or so ago,” Heath explained. “The car handled more like I expected it to this time. I got hung up in traffic a while early in the feature, but once I got free I could begin to make some headway. I just love Cotton Bowl, there's room to race.” Heath's goal of going after IMCA Southern Sport Mod Rookie-of-the-Year honors this year will take a huge effort. Lots of travel, lots of busy Friday and Saturday nights, but also a ton of learning. As a man who keeps critical generators running for a living, this type of challenge is an ideal pastime. “I love to learn, I love racing and this year I'm getting to compete at some great tracks here in Texas,” he added. “Heart O' Texas is a fast little bullring, a lot like Thunder Road Speedbowl up in Vermont. It may be dirt instead of asphalt, but you need to be up on the wheel every lap. It's an absolute blast. “And Cotton Bowl is a driver's track, with long straightaways that let you stretch your legs. It takes big power and a good chassis setup to be successful there. If I can learn to run near the front there, I will be doing a big stroke of business. These Sport Mod guys down here are good, and they don't budge at all.” To follow Chad's progress throughout the season, go to www.facebook.com/chadheath09k. (Photo credit: Rachel Plant)
  5. For immediate release: Chad Heath Racing PR Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Heath comes from last to 10th at Southern Oklahoma Speedway Maine native battles adversity to salvage second trip to SOS ARDMORE, Oklahoma (March 22, 2021) — In short track auto racing, whether at the hobby or professional level, the true measure of a driver is how well he faces adversity. On an off night, it's easy to just coast around and let the chips fall where they may. Yet for Maine native and Texas-based driver Chad Heath, an ill-handling race car just means it will be a little tougher to earn a decent finish. Heath, of Lamesa, made the most of his second visit to Southern Oklahoma Speedway on Saturday, earning a solid 10th-place finish after starting at the back. “I had the car turning almost too well in Hot Laps,” Heath explained. “The track turned dry-slick faster than I expected. I made a few changes for the feature, and it really brought it around. It felt good to pass some of those guys, and it's a great learning experience every time I go up to that track.” Heath is diving into his sophomore season in the ultra-competitive world of IMCA Southern Sport Mod racing with passion. In just just three starts, he's recorded two top-10 (at SOS) and one top-five finish (at Cotton Bowl Speedway). It's been an impressive start for the former iRacing addict. “It's early yet, with a lot of racing ahead of us this spring and summer,” Heath added. “It does feel good to be off to a strong start, a pair of top-10s and that top-five last Saturday at Cotton Bowl was a big boost to my confidence. I have lots to learn, but I'm absorbing knowledge every time I compete. “The competition at Southern Oklahoma Speedway is about as tough as it gets. I love a good challenge, so I drive up there to race, to learn, and to improve my program. I'm gaining with each trip.” Chad Heath Racing would like to thank Black Spot Design Lab in Lubbock, Texas; Rachel Plant “The Picture Taker” and Whipple Motorsports Media for their support in 2021. For quality graphics, signs, banners and high-end apparel, let the Black Spot Design Lab be your first choice. For more information, go to www.blackspotdesignlab.com. “I also need to take a minute to thank all the great folks back in my hometown of Phillips, Maine, for supporting my racing efforts down here. It means a ton to have them follow along and be so kind. I'm really enjoying this sport, and I come from a place where auto racing is a way of life.” Follow this race team throughout the season at www.facebook.com/chadheath09k.
  6. For immediate release: Chad Heath Racing Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Chad Heath doubles up with pair of top-10 finishes in two states Southern Stampede, Cotton Bowl kind to Maine native LAMESA, Texas (March 15, 2021) — For Maine native and north Texas resident Chad Heath, racing in two southern states on the same weekend was an amazing experience. Competing at two tracks he'd never raced on before, he dug deep and found success against some very stiff competition. The former iRacing enthusiast turned dirt-track racer pulled off a pair of top-10 runs in Oklahoma and Texas. It began with a solid ninth-place run on Friday night in the IMCA Southern Stampede at Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, then continued with a strong fifth-place finish in the season opener at Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, on Saturday. “After a big disappointment on Thursday night, it sure felt good to bounce back with decent runs in the next two outings,” Heath said. “I missed the A Main by one spot on Thursday, so I was determined to make the show on Friday night. The level of competition up there was pretty intense. “All I had done was practice at Cotton Bowl before, so this was my first actual race there. They run hard all night there, and it's a well prepared, fast track. Once I figured out where to run and got comfortable there, it kinda came together. There are some tough racers in Sport Mod at Cotton Bowl.” Heath is beginning his second season of driving on dirt ovals after being around the sport his entire life. He has a cousin from his home state of Maine who is in two different Hall of Fame's, the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. You may have heard of the three-time Oxford 250 winner and leader in feature wins there (151), Mr. Mike Rowe. “Mike made his mark in the sport decades ago, and somehow continues to run competitively at the age of 70 in an asphalt Super Late Model. I've always admired his tenacity and skills on any oval. He has that ability to adapt to track conditions and his car; I'm hoping to work on those skills myself.” Heath is just one of hundreds of IMCA Southern SportMod racers spread around the deep south chasing a dream. They dream of a National title, of running as many races as possible and of course, of enjoying quality time at the track with friends and family. For Heath, it's a natural way of life. “While I may not have been behind the wheel of a race car all these years, I've followed the sport closely and known lots of lifelong drivers. Today, I have a good car and can learn from others as I go along. I'm having a blast down here and loving the dirt track life. It sure helps when I run well.” Heath will now focus on his goal of winning IMCA Southern SportMod Rookie-of-the-Year honors for 2021. Last year, he earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors at West Texas Raceway in their Limited Modified class. In eight starts, he earned three top-10 finishes, including a pair of top-fives. To read race recaps and see photos from the 2021 season, visit the team's Facebook page often at www.facebook.com/chadheathracing. (Photo credit: Rachel Plant)
  7. For immediate release: CHR Public Relations Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Chad Heath Racing wraps up successful first year on Dirt at West Texas Raceway Former iRacing enthusiast goes from online to Limited Mod Rookie-of-the-Year LAMESA, Texas (Oct. 20, 2020) — Whoever said the transition from virtual racing to a solid season in the ultra-competitive world of Limited Modifieds on dirt in West Texas is impossible never met Chad Heath. The former iRacer, Army combat veteran and lifelong race fan did just that in 2020. Heath, 40, a Maine native who grew up in North Carolina and served his country fighting in Iraq, went real-world racing this year at West Texas Raceway (WTR) in Lubbock. In eight starts, he earned three top-five finishes, highlighted by a pair of top-five runs. At WTR, the Limited Modifieds are loaded with talent. Heath's consistency in his first year won him Rookie-of-the-Year honors, and although he failed to win a feature, it capped an amazing season. “I think the biggest factor in my success this year was being patient,” Heath explained. “It may sound corny, but all the advice I got from veteran racers on iRacing when dirt tracks were first brought to virtual racing really helped. Listening to those guys taught me a lot when it was time to actually race. “They told me to drag the brake, to keep the rear end loaded up and not to let out of the gas all the way, things like that. I used all of those things on the racetrack. Being active in iRacing taught me to be patient. I'm kind of aggressive in some ways, but that experience taught me to take my time.” Heath's choice to compete at WTR in 2020 has only enhanced his love for dirt track racing. Owner Corky Matthews and promoter Jeremy Pipes go the extra mile to entertain fans, and always look after their racers. Heath says while he also runs at other tracks, he loves his home in Lubbock. “I had raced in Abilene a little at first,” he said. “But the very first time I went out there to WTR I fell in love with it because I felt like I could use the throttle more to control the car. I just love the place since it's wide and you have so much room to race. Plus it's a very well-run facility to enjoy.” Heath's enjoyment at the track in 2020 didn't always come from feature results. There's more to it than that for this first-time racer with a love for people. “One thing I did when we raced up in Amarillo and a couple of times in West Texas was spending some time in the grandstands interacting with race fans,” he said. “I handed out some hero cards, and some folks even had me sign some t-shirts. That's the best part of racing for me. “To think I may have helped them form a connection to our sport is pretty cool. I've given a fan a hat, and the reaction I got made us some great new friends. Those guys visit us in the pits.” Heath's strong rookie campaign was not without its challenges, Take, for example, when he got run into on July 25th on his way to a race, causing significant damage to his trailer and car. “I jumped out of my truck and was pretty upset,” Heath explained. “A bunch of racers from Amarillo came flying up to me and said to pull over next to them. They said they'd done this before. They used their ATV's with winches to pull that trailer back out like an accordion. We unloaded the car and realized the right rear was bent downward. It also damaged the body panels pretty badly. “I got them back up out of the way enough to race, so when I got to Amarillo I went out and started fifth in my qualifying heat. I drove it up to third, and figured we were doing something right. There were 34 cars there that night, including the guy pitted next to me with a brand new car. He didn't make the A Main, but I did. In the feature, I finished eighth and after all that, I felt like we won it.” Along with a natural talent behind the wheel, part of Heath's successful 2020 season on dirt is the car he drives. And it's quite ironic to hear the name of his chassis, given where he's from. “My car is a Wicked Chassis built by Donnie Shipp, who runs a lot on the TOMS series, ” Heath said. “I'm a pretty big guy and I need more room to get in and out of the car than some driver may need. This car has that, and being from New England, I felt the name Wicked Chassis was cool. As for the powerplant, Heath chose a Crate Motor over a hand-built performance engine. “I don't have a lot of money, I work for a living and so I chose to go with a GM Crate engine,” Heath said in a candid fashion. “I blew a lot of guys away, they were shocked I had a crate motor. I embrace the crate motor concept, because it allows somebody like myself to get into racing.” Heath is quick to credit the installation of the Jones Kit for helping his efforts in 2020. “I got my engine from Karl Kustoms for $4,300 with my carburetor tuned to the engine,” he explained. “And the Jones Kit is one of the best things I bought for the car, and I got a huge discount for running the decals. I sure do appreciate their support and they sure do make an excellent product.” Heath's love for all things motorsports related doesn't end with fulfilling his dream of racing in Lubbock. He also loves to promote the sport itself, and is taking steps this fall to generate exposure for his team, fellow racers and West Texas Raceway itself in 2021. “I spent some time last weekend at Cotton Bowl Speedway talking with Tony Fetters from RaceOnTexas. I want to help owner Chris David to establish a dialogue between WTR and his folks to bring Live Streaming to our part of the state. I just enjoy promoting our sport, and we all need that. “I realize that Live stream can go a long way towards expanding the fan base for me, my fellow racers and West Texas Raceway itself. I want to help grow our sport and felt that was one way to do it.” Heath's military experience gave him a great deal of satisfaction, just as promoting racing does. “When I first got discharged, I did a lot of interviews,” he said. “I was asked what my biggest accomplishment was while in the service. My answer was serving as mentor for several soldiers, then hearing from them later as to the influence I had on them. I just love seeing others succeed, as well.” Heath is a perfect example of the trend middle-aged race fans are making going back to their roots. Gone is the admiration and obsession with a high-speed, follow-the-leader parade on Sunday. “A lot of us have lost interest in superspeedway racing, and short tracks are gaining from that.”