Chaotic Late-Race Restart Spoils Strong Run for Hemric
CHAOTIC LATE-RACE RESTART SPOILS ANOTHER STRONG RUN FOR DANIEL HEMRIC IN PHOENIX
Date: March 13, 2021 Event: Call 811 Before You Dig 200 (Round 5 of 33) Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series Location: Phoenix Raceway (1-mile tri-oval) Format: 200 laps (Stages: 45 laps / 45 laps / 110 laps) Start / Finish: 1st / 23rd (Running, 200 of 200 laps) Point Standing: 2nd (201 points, -47 points out of first) Race Winner: Austin Cindric Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Hemric Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
Daniel Hemric started Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix Raceway from the pole position and finished fourth in stage one.
After starting from the pole for the first time this season, Hemric reported that his Poppy Bank Toyota Supra was snug in the center of Phoenix’s flat turns. As a result, he settled into second prior to the competition caution on Lap 21.
Crew chief Dave Rogers opted to keep Hemric on track during the caution and the No. 18 Supra lined up on the inside of the front row for the ensuing restart on Lap 27.
The inside lane bogged down on the restart and allowed Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton to bypass Hemric. The Kannapolis, North Carolina native held on to the fourth position through the end of the stage on Lap 45.
Following stage one, the Poppy Bank team boosted Hemric back to the lead with a blazing-fast pit stop.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90)
Hemric started first and won stage two of Saturday’s race.
Like last week at Las Vegas, Hemric weathered a sequence of cautions and restarts as the leader during stage two.
The No. 18 driver fended off challenges on each restart and a fierce charge from Burton in the closing laps of the stage.
Hemric led throughout the stage to earn his second stage victory of the season and the 13th of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career.
The Poppy Bank team pitted during the caution between stages. Hemric exited pit road in the third position.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 91-200)
Hemric started second in the final stage and finished 23rd in Saturday’s race at Phoenix Raceway.
Early in the final stage, the Poppy Bank Supra was a handful for Hemric as he slipped outside the top 15 before a caution on Lap 124.
Rogers and the No. 18 team used the caution to bring Hemric to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment for the final stretch of the race. During his trip down pit road, NASCAR tagged Hemric for speeding and dropped the Poppy Bank Supra to the rear of the field for a restart on Lap 130.
Hemric quickly raced his way back up the leaderboard. He was back inside the top 10 by Lap 139 and rejoined the top five on Lap 147.
Another restart on Lap 155 allowed Hemric to choose to restart on the inside of row two and he secured the third position by the time the race was slowed again on lap 166.
The No. 18 Supra driver chose the inside of the front row for a restart with 29 laps to go but fell to fourth. As the run went longer, Hemric moved back into third before a caution with less than 10 laps remaining set up a late-race restart.
Hemric again chose the inside of the front row for a restart with two laps to go. He found himself in a four-wide battle as the field raced into turn one. Unfortunately for the No. 18 team, the Poppy Bank Supra was hit from the inside and knocked out of the groove, dropping Hemric to a 23rd-place finish.
Hemric led twice for 44 laps in Saturday’s race at Phoenix Raceway. He has now led 120 laps on the season – more than two of his previous three Xfinity Series seasons.
Ty Gibbs led Joe Gibbs Racing with a runner-up finish in Saturday’s race. Harrison Burton ended the day with a 13th-place finish, Hemric was 23rd and Brandon Jones was credited with 33rd after being involved in a late-race accident.
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the season’s sixth event. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, March 20 at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.