Byron, Hemric recall early racing days

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Over the week, William Byron has posted on social media about the racing relationship between Daniel Hemric and himself going through the ranks of Legend’s cars.

That friendship culminates this weekend as they both battle for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway as rookies.

Over the week, Byron went to his Twitter account to post photos of Hemric and himself driving around Charlotte Motor Speedway’s quarter-mile and a picture of both drivers during a late-model race.

“That’s really cool.  I’m not sure you guys saw the other picture, but there was one a couple of years ago, heck, he ran his first crate, late-model for me.  I built a car, crew chiefed the car, assembled a team, and he actually drove for me,” said Hemric.

Hemric has been amazed by the progression of Byron in just a short period of time. The same skills that Byron learned in the late-model days are the same skills he uses in the car today.

“He did exactly what he’s doing here in NASCAR, he did ‑‑ as soon as he got in that thing, he was fast right off the bat.  Put himself in some good situations that kind of got him through it.  And just kind of go through the process of teaching him restarts and how to maximize momentum coming to the green of qualifying, little stuff that we all learn at such a young age.  Him starting as late as he did, it was cool to be able to be a part of that,” said Hemric.

As the championship looms, Hemric does not feel that Byron is playing mind games with him, but a mutual understanding. Throughout their careers, respect has been given by both drivers.

Hemric believes the best days of battling Byron came during Summer Shootout on Tuesday nights at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hemric mentioned that he was able to beat Byron about “60 percent of the time.”

“Believe it or not, it probably was some of those Legend car days ‑‑ Summer Shootout Tuesday nights at Charlotte Motor Speedway, him and I kind of separated ourselves every week to be the two fastest cars. Luckily the year that him and I were in the same division, we got the best of him probably 60 percent of the time.  He can be beaten, but he’s done a great job of putting himself in good situations,” said Hemric.

Byron did confirm that Hemric was able to beat about 60 percent of the time, but went on to discuss what he remembers the most of their battles.

“I remember what comes to mind the most is the one time that we kind of got tangled up with each other, we both felt bad about it, and then we both talked it out and worked it out and moved on, said Byron. “That kind of set the bar for how we were going to race each other down the road, and he’s taught me a lot in my career as far as driving late models for him and then doing a couple of races here and there.”

Although both drivers are competitors are competing against each other for a championship, they both still have that close friendship.

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