By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
CONCORD, N.C. – Daniel Hemric has been at or near the top of the leaderboard all weekend long at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 200 looked to be the day he’d finally break through for his elusive first win.
If not for a late-race mistake that saw him miss the frontstretch chicane, Hemric very well could have been sitting in Victory Lane at the end of the day. Despite the issues, Hemric still showed that he had a car capable of running up front as he battled back to a 10th place finish.
“I’d been fortunate enough to not make a mistake like that all weekend and when I needed to not make it the most, I did,” said Hemric. “Frustrated. Frustrated in myself, nobody else. Had a car that should have won this race today. Proud of everybody on this South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet for giving me the effort and having a race car I could contend with.
“This thing was unbelievable longer into a run. I struggled in taking off and I put a lot of rear brake into it. Didn’t put it back and I just got down in there and wheel-hopped it with what I had done with the brake bias. I know better. It’s just all on me.”
Starting the day on the outside front row, Hemric took over the lead from pole-sitter Austin Cindric when he spun on lap 13 and held onto the top spot all the way through to the end of Stage 1.
Despite losing the lead after staying out on old tires during the stage break, Hemric was still a force to be reckoned with as the race played out. With the laps winding down, Hemric and Chase Briscoe were locked in a thrilling battle for the race win.
With Briscoe in the lead, Hemric charged into the frontstretch chicane on lap 44 in an effort to gain ground on Briscoe, but carried too much speed in and wound up missing the second part of the chicane altogether.
As a result, he was forced to pull off to the side of the apron on the frontstretch to serve a stop-and-go penalty, giving up a ton of track position in the process.
“I didn’t even have to push it,” Hemric added. “I’m not sure why I was even being so aggressive. I still had a long way to go. Just frustrated with my mistake.”
Over the closing laps, Hemric charged back through the field, picking off driver after driver over the final 11 laps and cracking the top-10 with the checkered flag in sight.
With his comeback, the Richard Childress Racing driver now has a 30-point surplus on the cut-off line heading into the final race of the first round of the Playoffs next weekend at Dover.
Hemric will have a second chance at the Charlotte ROVAL as he will drive the No. 8 car for Richard Childress Racing in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Throughout the weekend, Hemric has been among the fastest cars on that side of things and team owner Richard Childress noted that he very well could take home the victory on his home track.
“He will get his wins,” Childress said. “And, I think it could happen here Sunday. His No. 8 car is really fast. He’s a great road racer. Don’t be surprised if we’re not sitting here Sunday afternoon. Write that down. We’re going to be trying. We’ve got three good cars out here. We could be here Sunday. That’s our plan.
“Anybody can win this Roval.”