Daniel Hemric Dreams Of Running Shows Like The Bojangles’ Southern 500by Hunter Thomas August 28, 2019 0 comments
DARLINGTON, S.C. – From grassroots racing to NASCAR’s biggest stage, Daniel Hemric is now competing in the sport’s crown jewel events.
Daniel Hemric has finally made it to the big stage in North American stock car racing. After spending a few years in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the North Carolina native is now in his first full season on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level. While talent has certainly gotten him this far, the grassroots level is what has prepared him for the Cup Series.
Hemric said, “When you’re Super Late Model racing, grinding it out every Friday and Saturday night with some of the best local short track racers in the country, you all have this drive and this ambition to be the best you can be, and you never know where that’s going to take you, and I think that’s kind of how my path was. You have your ultimate goal, but you never know how you’re going to get there or what it’s going to take to get there, so you just put your best foot forward every weekend running those events.”
There are three races in particular that Hemric has always dreamed of competing in. The first is of course being the Daytona 500. Hemric competed in the prestigious race for the first time back in February. He finished a disappointing 34th, but he bounced back to finish 20th at Atlanta, 23rd at Las Vegas and 18th at Phoenix. His second crown jewel stop was a few weekends ago at Bristol Motor Speedway. He finished 12th in the always exciting night race. Next on his list is the 70th running of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
“I’m telling you, there are a couple of crown jewel races that you remember watching as a kid,” Hemric said. “That being the Daytona 500, the Bristol night race and the Southern 500 at Darlington. You dream of running shows like that.”
Hemric has never started a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway before, but he does have two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the track, Too Tough To Tame. In 2017, he finished 18th after starting third and then 11th last year after starting fourth. One thing that drivers must do at Darlington is save tires, and Hemric has learned to do that at the short tracks and throughout his years of competing on a regional and national level.
“I think when you make your progression through the ranks, and you get to the Truck and Xfinity and the Cup level, I think one of the things that a lot of true short track racers that spent a lot of time at that level fight is the tire situation, and the pace,” Hemric said. “When you go, and you get to one of the top-three levels, you’ve got to take off and qualify just about every lap of every run, and you’re sitting there in 30 more laps of 40 laps, you’re coming back to get another set of tires, and you have to do it all over again. You’ve got to change your mindset and your mentality of how you attack the races and how you approach them and learn to conform to that.”
The guy atop the pit box calling the shots for Hemric and the Richard Childress Racing No. 8 Chevrolet team is veteran crew chief, Luke Lambert. While serving as a crew chief for Ryan Newman, Lambert has helped his team finish inside the top-10 in three of six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway. Even though Hemric has never competed in a Cup Series race at Darlington, Lambert feels that the young driver is preparing the correct way for the 367-lap race.
“The short experience that he (Hemric) has got there, he has a good feel for the racetrack, and the characteristics that he has pointed out in our conversations are right in line with what our experience the last few years on the 31 team has been,” Lambert said. “We just try to take a little extra time to really get our head focused on the right things going into the weekend, because one thing that is challenging about Darlington is you really have to carefully analyze changes you make in practice with tire falloff being what it is.”
The Bojangles’ Southern 500 will broadcast live at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 1 on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com