Daniel in the Desert: PHX preview
Race 4: ISM Raceway (Phoenix)
No. 8 Okuma Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Daniel Hemric will be making his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at ISM Raceway but has starts in both the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at the 1-mile track. He had an average start of 14.5 and an average finish of 5.0 in the Xfinity Series, including a runner-up finish in November 2018. He also has an average start of 14.0 and an average finish of 15.7 in the Truck Series.
Do you consider ISM Raceway a short track?
"I never got to run the old Phoenix where it was slick and worn out and all that stuff. I look at it and I'm not a huge fan of smashing the gas pedal as soon as you get back to throttle, but over time I've found that when the place gets really hot it does drive like a short track in the sense that your car is moving around. You can chase the things you grew up racing with balance wise and changes to the cars and it can help you and you can apply it to how you race Phoenix. I'm still on the fence a little bit on how I feel about it, but in the grand scheme of things it drives like a short track."
The Start/Finish Line was moved to a different location on the track for the November race at ISM Raceway. How did that impact the racing at Phoenix?
"For sure the restarts are incredibly different. Turn 1, now if you get down in there everybody is funneling back up onto the regular track from the flat. That changes the whole dynamic. You've got to be so aware of where everybody is at or if that guy behind you smokes down in there a little too hard and gets in hot, you then have to give him room. There are a lot of variables there. In the past, everybody always said with the old layout if you could get through (Turns) 1 and 2 that you would have a good lap. Well, now you've got to get through there twice, your coming-up-to-speed lap and your out-lap, to make raw speed. A lot of different visuals there with pit road. A lot of things are different all at the same racetrack, it's crazy to think it's the exact same."
Review Mirror: Las Vegas
Hemric and the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 showed a lot of speed with the new aerodynamic package throughout practice and qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Once the race got underway, Hemric battled to find the right handling of the car throughout the opening stages of the event. Crew chief Luke Lambert continually worked on making changes and the car came to life in the final stage. In the end, Hemric and the No. 8 team ended the day in the 23rd position.
Meet the Driver
Hemric is scheduled to sign autographs at the RCR merchandise hauler in the ISM Raceway fan midway on Friday, March 8, starting at 2:45 p.m. local time.
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