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Hoosier Rider Ready To Say Farewell – For Now – with Possible Double Duty at IMS
Hoosier Rider Ready To Say Farewell – For Now – with Possible Double Duty at IMS

If Corey Heflin wasn’t so competitive, he would officially declare this weekend’s MotoAmerica event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway his last ride.

Heflin and his wife, Mia, are expecting their first child in March, and they plan to prioritize parenthood over racing. But Heflin is in his third year as a professional rider, and he could earn a chance to compete in his first Superbike race -- MotoAmerica’s premier class – this weekend.

Heflin is a regular in the Stock 1000 class which races at 12:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, and he could qualify for the three Superbike races (one Saturday, two Sunday) if he meets the minimum speed requirement. A Superbike starting position is earned by posting a lap within 108 percent of the pole time, and Stock 1000 riders will have one final chance to meet that standard Saturday in a session at 9:10 a.m.

Heflin, who turned 40 on Oct. 1, has met the mark at two MotoAmerica events this season, although he wasn’t prepared to race in the premier class either time. He wouldn’t miss that chance at IMS.

“It would just make the whole thing all the more awesome,” he said Friday.

Despite living in Florida in recent years, Heflin is Indiana through and through, growing up in Kokomo where he went to high school (Kokomo, Class of 1999) and graduating from Purdue University. His father remains a Kokomo-based fabricator of race cars – dragsters, mainly, but also mini-sprints – and Heflin drove mini-sprints around his baseball schedule in high school. He was a standout pitcher.

Kokomo is located an hour north of Indianapolis, which always made IMS an easy family destination. Heflin said he was in diapers the first time he came to the iconic track, and he couldn’t begin to count the number of times he has witnessed Indianapolis 500 qualifications or the race. He estimates he missed only one “500” from the mid-1990s until moving to Florida in 2005, and he was present for the first Formula One race at IMS in 2000 and all of the MotoGP events (2008-15).

While Heflin has experienced many of the Speedway’s grandstand locations, this is his first time he is riding on the actual track – the front straightaway is part of the motorcycle circuit’s 16-turn, 2.591-mile layout. As a bonus, Heflin Racing was assigned to Garage A4, which is reserved for A.J. Foyt’s teams when they’re racing here.

“That’s just pretty cool,” Heflin said.

By day, Heflin sells commercial fitness equipment, and he is proud to say he finally has competitive equipment in his sport, too. He began riding six years ago as an amateur novice and worked his way up to the professional level in 2018. But he has competed on a 2015 Yamaha R1 in recent years, which made the upgrade to a new model over the winter a significant move.

“Last year I was a second to a second and a half off (the Superbike minimum),” the rider of the No. 21 bike said. “This year I’ve met it a couple of times already. So, yeah, it’s better.”

Finishing a professional career with a ride in a Superbike race would truly be a capper, assuming this is indeed his last ride.

“I’ve had a lot of fun and adventure, and I’ve done pretty much everything for me and what I wanted to do for the last 20 years,” Heflin said. “I want to concentrate and dedicate myself to (parenthood) the next couple of years.”

After that?

“We’ll see,” he said. “We’re not completely shutting down racing. But next year is just the first year that we’re for sure (stepping) away, and after that who knows? Probably next year when I’m not here I’ll be wanting to be.”

MotoAmerica has six classes racing this weekend at IMS. Tickets are available on Children 15 and under are admitted free to general admission areas when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.

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