The Hillbilly Racing team has made many treks Northward from their Westfield, North Carolina race shop to NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events over the years. From team owners Roger and Sandra Hill, their crew chief and son David and the majority of the crew members, every person on the number-79 team knows the route from Northern North Carolina to the racetracks throughout New England and New York that fill up the Tour schedule.
In 2012, they will be bringing another person up
with them for each event from North Carolina –
their new driver.
Twenty-year-old Daniel Hemric will pilot the
Hillbilly Racing 79 on the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour in 2012. In addition to the
Northern Tour schedule, Hemric will start the
season at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car
Racing with the team in February, and also
compete in NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified
Tour events and NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series Modified events at Bowman Gray Stadium
in North Carolina on off-weekends from the
“We are all committed to each other to run the
full Northern Tour for a championship,” said
Hemric. “It’s a huge honor for me to represent
Hillbilly Racing up there. A lot of people actually
think they’re a Northern team because of how
much they run up there, so it’s going to be pretty
cool being a Southern driver and a Southern
team driving North every week to race with those
guys. Then, to do all the racing on the off-
weekends, will be a huge bonus and a great
experience for me.
“It’s great to have people like the Hill family take
me under their wing the way they have, especially
a team as successful as they have been in the
past. I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
The Hillbilly Racing team has a rich history in both the Northern and Southern Whelen Modified Tours. Hemric has seven career NASCAR Tour starts for the Hills’ organization, six from 2010 to 2011 on the Southern Modified Tour and one on the Northern Tour in 2011. In 2012, those statistics will grow exponentially as the young driver gains experience.
“We’re going to try to run him as much as we can to get him as much seat time as we can to get him to progress,” said David Hill. “He’s so young, but he has no bad habits. He has tons of talent and has a great attitude - a winning attitude. He’s not satisfied with third. He wants first every time.”
Hemric’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut came in October when he piloted the Coors Light “21 Means 21” number-79 Modified in the season-ending World Series event at Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut. After qualifying 28th, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native drove his way into the top-five late in the race and was in position to perhaps score an upset victory. While the race ended prematurely for Hemric while battling for the win, the experience of mixing it up with the best of the Northern Tour was invaluable.
“That race definitely benefitted me in more ways than I could ever explain,” said Hemric. “The intensity level up there is so much higher than it is in the South. The way you’ve got to run from lap one until the end is just way more intense anything I had ever done before. It really put in perspective to me how much effort it’s going to take to run the full Tour next year.”
Hemric will have a full slate of Modified races on his schedule in 2012, but that will not be all for the young racer. He will also compete in a Super Late Model for the Georgia-based Carswell Motorsports team in 2012. Hemric took over the Carswell ride late in 2011 and will continue to be the pilot of the Jake and Deanna Carswell-owned number-98 machines this season.
The 2012 Modified season will kick off for Hemric with the 46th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, February 17th through 25th.
Coors Light and their “21 Means 21” program, Le Bleu Water, Hill Enterprises, Pro-System and Demis Paint will provide support for the Hillbilly Racing team in 2012.