By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Daniel Hemric’s bid for $100,000 fell apart during Stage 2 in Friday’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway, resulting to a 29th place finish after leading 11 of 250 laps.
Hemric tried keeping his No. 21 South Point Casino Chevrolet Camaro in one peace after running several laps with a right front tire going down.
Then on Lap 148, Hemric’s Dash 4 Cash chances ended when it finally let go and made slight wall contact. The incident didn’t brought out a caution and had to coast his car for three laps.
Hemric lost four laps in the process and ended the stage in 32nd.
Before the disappointing night transpired, Hemric showed his car was going to be race-winning contender, running inside the top three all through Stage 1.
A late restart bunched up the field and Hemric had his eyes sight on Christopher Bell, and took care of business right away, moving up to first with five laps remaining.
Hemric held off Bell and scored 10 stage points, and an all-important playoff point.
Patience became key for the 27-year-old in Stage 2, restarting seventh but he didn’t stay there for long, moving up to second in five laps.
During this stage, Hemric told his team that his car ran better during long runs.
As the stage came to a close, Hemric was starting to lose track positions, reporting that his right front tire was going down.
Crew chief Danny Stockman, Jr. gave Hemric the decision of either taking the safe route by pitting or gamble by riding it out.
Hemric chose the latter, but it came with a price as he lost a lap to race leader Elliott Sadler before hitting the wall.
After his flat tire, Hemric said his car felt okay, and had hoped to take the wave around. However, he wasn’t allowed to do so because he pitted when pit road was closed.
Despite the chagrin, the No. 21 team remained optimistic that he’ll pull a comeback out of this situation.
It wasn’t meant to be as the final 80 laps remained green, giving Hemric, who restarted in 32nd and running fast laps, no chance of bouncing back and only gained four spots.
Friday marked Hemric’s worst finish of the season and hit him deep in the points standings as he dropped from second to points leader Elliott Sadler, down to fourth after eight races.
Hemric will now shift his focus towards his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut Saturday, where he’ll start 22nd in the No. 8 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet.