He barely missed it.
“I was born on a Wednesday, and on Saturday my mom took me to the track to watch my dad race,” he says. “I’ve been going ever since.”
Corey’s dad Mike is one of the area’s veteran drivers – over the years he has raced at Nashville, Highland Rim, Carthage, Huntsville, Ala., and Owensboro, Ky. -- and Corey’s mom Tammy is the family cheerleader.
“My dad has always raced, and my mom is as addicted to it as he is,” Corey says. Given those genetics, it was only a matter of time until the 24-year-old graduate of Wilson Central High and Georgia Tech would take to the track.
“I started racing motorcycles when I was 12, and three years ago I began racing stock cars,” says Corey, who this season is competing at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway and Highland Rim Speedway in Ridgetop.
“My mom was glad to see me switch from motorcycles to stock cars,” he says. “Motorcycles made her nervous.”
What’s the attraction of the sport?
“It’s hard to explain,” Corey says. “I enjoy the rush, the excitement, the challenge. It’s you and your car out there against other drivers and their cars. To me, there’s nothing else as exciting. Ever since I started watching my dad race I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
As for the danger:
“I’ve been lucky,” Corey says. “Once during a race at the Fairgrounds I wrecked and totaled my truck, but I escaped with just a few bruises and scratches. I don’t dwell on it (risks).”
Corey has always had a knack for all things mechanical. After high school he was offered a scholarship to Georgia Tech by Thompson Mechanical, with the understanding that he would work for the company for a specified time after graduating. He is employed at the company’s La Vergne office.
Corey’s mechanical gift comes in handy in keeping a total of nine cars up and running at the family’s Roland Motorsports shop near the Fairgrounds in Lebanon.
“I race in a couple of different divisions and my dad races in another,” Corey says. “That’s a lot of cars to maintain. I spend a lot of time in the shop.”
Corey competes in the Late Model division at Highland Rim Speedway. Although he has yet to win – his best finish is 3rd – he consistently runs in the top five and is fourth in the championship standings.
“It’s been a pretty good season so far,” he says, “but it could have been better.”
Corey’s goal this season is to win Rookie of the Year and eventually challenge for championships.
He says he benefits from his dad’s coaching.
“He is my spotter during races, and has given a lot of advice,” Corey says. “The most important thing I’ve learned from my dad is to remain calm and focused and not lose my temper. If you get mad you lose your focus and that just makes things worse. If you keep calm, things will usually work out.”