By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor
CONCORD, N.C. – Daniel Hemric kept his head high despite finishing two points shy of the final transfer spot in Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250.
Throughout the 250km race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL Hemric kept in touch with both of his main rivals for the final spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Round of Eight, Sheldon Creed and Parker Kligerman. The No. 10 Action Industries Chevrolet Camaro SS followed Kligerman through traffic, keeping the points battle tight. That was aided by two ninth place finishes in the stages, which mostly went caution-free.
The intensity of the hard racing between the trio was evident as each driver laid the bumper to the slower competition. Despite the occasional contact, each of the drivers kept the battles respectful, not wanting to create enemies. For Hemric, it was also a matter of having long-run speed compared to Kligerman’s short-run speed.
“We were racing hard,” Hemric said. “We struggled a little bit on the shorter run all day, thought having a quick yellow and really get some heat in the tires (that) all will be okay. I just couldn’t go any faster near the end and obviously took like eight to 10 laps for guys really started falling off.”
In the closing laps, the Kaulig Racing driver followed Kligerman through the field as both attempted to make up their points deficits. The 2021 Xfinity champion recognized the move his fellow Chevy Racing driver was setting up on Kaz Grala for fifth. That allowed him to position his car to take advantage of both drivers.
Exiting the frontstretch chicane, Hemric forced both Grala and Kligerman three-wide. The move didn’t pay off as he still finished behind his two competitors in seventh. However, Hemric views that he lost the opportunity to advance after a miserable race at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
“I thought with the 48, I saw the move he was going to put on the 26 there coming to the start-finish line or coming to the entry chicane and it played out almost like I wanted to,” Hemric explained. “I could have runhim over, but I wasn’t going to do it. I’m extremely proud of this racing the way we execute today, we had a plan, stuck to a plan. We didn’t lose it here today. We lost it at Texas. That falls on myself, big shoulders, I can handle it. We’ll, continue this journey.”
The last corner dive-bomb was Hemric’s last-ditch effort to make it into the Round of Eight. Preferring to take the high road, he opted not to run over Grala or Kligerman. Much like Mark Martin or Martin Truex, Jr., the Kannapolis, N.C. native wanted to make the move cleanly and respectfully.
“That was that was my last-ditch effort,” Hemric admitted. “I felt like my car is strong on braking though. We made a really big improvement on our package, at least for [me], for sure. I could maybe be a little more aggressive with the 26 there and got him into the 48, but like I said, I didn’t want to advance that way. Humble in victory, gracious in defeat. We were defeated (today).”
The seventh-place finish was Hemric’s 15th this season. It was also the 101st in his Xfinity career.
Next for the 32-year-old is the Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Despite being eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs, Hemric can still finish as high as fifth in the standings before he returns to the Cup Series in 2024.
The Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, October 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.