Wednesday, 16 October 2019

NASCAR’s Daniel Hemric willing to drop back to move up –

NASCAR’s Daniel Hemric willing to drop back to move up –
06 Oct

Daniel Hemric enjoyed a couple of pretty good years in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing. He never won, but there were five poles, 23 top-five finishes and 39 top-10s in 66 career starts. He finished fourth in the 2017 points and third in the 2018 points.

But things went sideways when team owner Richard Childress promoted his Xfinity star to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In short, it’s been a disaster.

Through 29 races, going into Sunday afternoon’s Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway, the 28-year-old Hemric has just one top-five finish in Cup and one other top-10. He’s 25th in points, has led only 17 laps, has averaged starting 17th and finishing 23rd. It didn’t catch many series-watchers by surprise when Childress announced early this month that he wouldn’t sign Hemric for a second year.

The team’s announcement called Hemric “a very talented driver and an outstanding person.” As usual, it thanked him for his commitment and dedication to RCR and wished him continued success. It took the company only a few days to confirm that defending Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick will replace Hemric next year in the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro.

If Hemric is angry or bitter at being fired, he’s kept it well-bottled. His social media response said he was “forever grateful” for the opportunity offered by RCR. He mentioned being disappointed but pledged to “do all I can to … make sure we get those (team goals) and finish the season strong.”

So… what now? With David Ragan retiring, Front Row Motorsports has a mid-pack Cup ride available for 2020. Christopher Bell is moving up from Joe Gibbs Racing’s successful Xfinity program to Leavine Family Racing’s on-the-rise Cup team, where Matt DiBenedetto is leaving for Wood Brothers Racing. Chris Buescher is leaving JTG Daugherty Racing to replace Ricky Stenhouse at Roush Fenway Racing, leaving (as of Saturday) another mid-pack seat. If Hemric can impress a sponsor of two, he may not be out of racing after all.

He even seems amenable to returning to the Xfinity or Gander Outdoor Truck Series rather than quitting altogether. He was 0-for-50 in Trucks but had 30 top-10s finishes and was seventh and sixth in Truck Series points in 2015-2016. Even so, the most telling line of his entire NASCAR career is that 0-for-147 across the sport’s top three series.

“I wouldn’t consider (dropping back) a demotion,” he said Saturday at Dover, where he qualified 31st. “I’m leaving my options open and looking for a good path. The important thing is that whatever I pick will change my life, so I want something that’s good not just for next year but for a long time.

“A true competitor wants to be competitive, whichever level it’s at. I was content and making a living (in 2012-2014) being competitive in Super Late Models. Now, I need to be ready to make moves on the fly. It’s like, ‘here’s the crossroads, so it’s time to take it.’ I want the best ride I can get and place myself in a position to be with good people who’ll have my back.”



« »


Related Articles