By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Despite being involved in a wreck with his teammate, Daniel Hemric salvaged a top-10 finish in his return to full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series competition.
Hemric was up front in No. 18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra in the closing laps, drafting with his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ty Dillon. With 15 laps to go in the scheduled distance of the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner 300, Dillon swept by Hemric entering turn three, trying to keep his run on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.
In the center of turns three and four, Dillon attempted to move his No. 54 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Supra in front of Hemric. However, he wasn’t clear and spun across the nose of his teammate. The contact set off a chain reaction that collected another 14 cars. Hemric was one of the few to continue after the wreck.
After a trip to pit road, Hemric’s crew, led by Dave Rogers, made repairs. Despite the damage, the Kannapolis, N.C. native was still competitive. After another quick caution sent the race into overtime, Hemric maneuvered his way back up the running order. In the short time he had, he climbed from 15th to take the checkered flag in ninth.
“It was a day to learn how far we could push ourselves,” explained Hemric. “I’m proud of Dave Rogers (crew chief). The adversity we had to overcome as a group tonight in the Poppy Bank Toyota Supra – we were able to bounce back and make a solid day out of it. That’s what you’ve got to do in these moments. We’ve got several months to keep building toward our ultimate goal.”
After qualifying was rained out, Hemric lined up 12th on the grid. Three cautions in the first Stage interrupted the race pace. At the end of Stage 1, Hemric was sixth, and netted six additional points.
Stage 2 went caution-free until the final run into the tri-oval. Hemric had to avoid fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver Brandon Jones as the No. 19 spun through the grass and back on track. He finished outside of the points in the second Stage.
In the final Stage, Hemric once again had to avoid disaster. When a miscommunication led to a pile-up during an attempt at green flag pit stops, Hemric held his line. Several drivers attempting to rejoin the track either made contact or were hit from behind as the wreck ensued.
The ninth-place finish is the 52nd in Hemric’s NASCAR Xfinity Series career. It is also the first top-10 for Hemric since he returned to full-time competition. He was last full-time in the Cup Series in 2019.
Next for Hemric is a return to the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. Last season, he was credited with a 37th-place finish after an early accident.
Feature Photo Credit: NKP / NKP Photo