By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — It wasn’t any easy night for Daniel Hemric in the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but the 25-year old scratched, clawed and fought his way to a solid finish to finish out his career with Brad Keselowski Racing.
Hemric rolled off from the grid in the 18th position, but in the early stages of the race his truck was absolutely hooked up.
Within the first 30 laps of the event, Hemric had climbed inside the top-five. He wouldn’t stay there for long, as Christopher Bell and Daniel Suarez would get around him shortly after the 30-lap mark.
The youngster from Kannapolis, North Carolina would keep himself in contention, and in the closing laps he put on a whale of a show battling Bell, Suarez, Timothy Peters and Matt Crafton. Over the thrilling final 20 laps, the combination of drivers would hit three-wide several times, and many times all of the drivers — Hemric included — were in precarious positions.
But luckily there were some very familiar faces around Hemric, which meant the trust level was rather high even when fenders began to crinkle.
“Yeah and for the most part, everybody running around there are racers, and we’ve all had to claw tooth and nail to get to the point where we’re at,” said Hemric. “It’s cool to have that much respect to race with Johnny [Sauter] and those guys.”
After the wild battles, Hemric came home in the fifth position, and according to the hard-nosed racer it was the hardest he’s had to fight for a top-five finish.
“Yeah, that’s what Homestead is all about. A lot of fun to drive that Ford F-150 tonight. I hate that we came up short and weren’t able to notch a victory on the board, but tonight was just a testament of not giving up,” Hemric explained. “We qualified 18th and fought all night, and the truck had a lot more speed than we expected it to have.”
In September, Richard Childress Racing announced that they had hired Hemric to drive for their organization in the 2017 season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Hemric ends his BKR career without a win, but he was proud to get another good finish for the team.
“I’m glad we could finish it off with a top-five,” Hemric boasted. “Obviously it’s frustrating not to get a win for these guys, but solid effort for BKR.”
Hemric heads to the Xfinity Series with a very solid Camping World Truck Series resume. Through 49-career starts in the series, Hemric has racked up 30 top-10 finishes — including Friday night’s run at Homestead. Hemric also finished this season sixth in the championship standings after securing a Chase berth in the first-ever Camping World Truck Series Chase for the Championship.
The other BKR driver in the race — Tyler Reddick — came home second. Reddick announced Friday morning that he will also depart the team in the offseason to pursue a part-time Xfinity Series season with Chip Ganassi Racing next year.