Hemric Clinches Playoff Berth With Top-Five Finish at Daytona
Date: August 28, 2021
Event: Wawa 250 (Round 23 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: 100 laps (Stages: 30 laps / 30 laps / 40 laps)
Start / Finish: 21st / 5th (Running, 100 of 100 laps)
Point Standing: 4th (779 points, -146 points out of first)
Race Winner: Justin Haley
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Haley
Stage 2 Winner: Jeb Burton
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30)
Daniel Hemric started the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway from the 21st position and finished 36th in stage one.
When the race began Friday night, the Poppy Bank Toyota Supra steadily moved up the leaderboard before the competition caution on lap 16.
Rain and lightning set in over the 2.5-mile superspeedway before the race could be resumed, so NASCAR officials were forced to postpone the remainder of the event until Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday, Hemric moved up to eighth and continued to run inside the top 10 until a multi-car accident on lap 27 sent several cars spinning, including the No. 18 Supra. Hemric’s car hit the outside wall and forced the Poppy Bank team to make three pit stops for repairs. In the midst of repairing the damage, Hemric lost a lap to the leaders.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-60)
Hemric started 36th and finished seventh in stage two.
After falling off the lead lap, Hemric quickly rejoined leaders after receiving the free pass during a caution on lap 35.
The Poppy Bank Supra proved to still be contender as Hemric rocketed from 35th to 15th within one lap after the restart.
Hemric ran with the lead group for much of the stage and made gutsy moves in the closing laps of the segment to finish seventh.
Following the stage, crew chief Dave Rogers called Hemric to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 61-100)
Hemric started the final stage in the 36th position and finished fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
The Poppy Bank Supra rallied back inside the top 10 in the closing laps.
As the laps counted down, Hemric stayed committed to the outside lane and gave Justin Haley a race-winning push on the final lap as the No. 11 car claimed the victory and the Poppy Bank Supra ended the day with a fifth-place finish.
Hemric’s fifth-place finish was his ninth top-five of the season and his best result in seven career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Daytona.
Hemric’s top-five finish led Joe Gibbs Racing with Christopher Bell sixth, Harrison Burton ninth and Brandon Jones 40th.
Daniel Hemric, Driver of the No. 18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra
How surprised were you that you were mixing it up toward the front at the end?
“That was a valiant team effort by this Poppy Bank Toyota Supra team. I hit the wall a ton whatever lap that was and thought that was the end of our day. Dave Rogers (crew chief) did an incredible job atop the pit box to bring us down pit road and get this thing as tuned up as much as we could every chance that we had the opportunity to do that. By the last time, I thought it was pretty decent. We’d come to the pack enough every time we worked on it; I knew we had good speed. It was a really good pusher. I was with the 11 (Justin Haley) and he was my best chance to move forward there at the end. He made the right moves and pulled me along and it was cool to see those guys win. Those teammates are tough to beat when it comes to superspeedway racing. I’m proud of the effort of these guys. Thanks to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and everyone back at the motor shop, suspension and chassis. It takes everything to run good here and we did all we could to maximize it here today.”
Are you happy that you clinched a spot in the Xfinity Series Playoffs?
“I hadn’t even thought about that, which quite frankly it’s not really been our mindset. At Joe Gibbs Racing, we come here to win races and obviously being locked in, it does open up the doors – I think we have three races left now before the end of the regular season so we can go for broke. Darlington is a place that I love and thought we had a really good shot to win at and had a flat left rear tire in stage 2 in the spring race, so we’ll be ready to rock.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series makes its second trip to Darlington Raceway next weekend. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, September 4, at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.