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  1. 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.”
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