DANIEL HEMRIC LEADS A RACE-HIGH 74 LAPS ON THE WAY TO SECOND-PLACE FINISH IN LAS VEGAS
Date: March 6, 2021 Event: Alsco Uniforms 300 (Round 4 of 33) Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval) Format: 200 laps (Stages: 45 laps / 45 laps / 110 laps) Start / Finish: 3rd / 2nd (Running, 200 of 200 laps) Point Standing: 2nd (170 points, -21 points out of first) Race Winner: AJ Allmendinger 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 Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the third position and finished third in stage one.
On the initial stint, Hemric ran second while reporting that his Poppy Bank Toyota Supra was too loose, especially on corner entry.
Following an early caution, the No. 18 driver restarted second on Lap 26 and briefly held the lead before the loose condition ultimately forced him to slide back to third by the time the stage ended on Lap 45.
Crew chief Dave Rogers called Hemric to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment during the caution period between stages. The Poppy Bank pit crew gained their driver a position on pit road and put the No. 18 Supra into the lead to begin stage two.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90)
Hemric started first and won stage two of Saturday’s race.
With improved track position, the Kannapolis, North Carolina native fended off multiple challenges during a caution-filled stage two.
The segment finally stayed green for the final 14 laps as Hemric cruised to his first stage victory of the season and the 12th of his Xfinity Series career.
Rogers brought Hemric back to pit road after the stage. This time, he lost the lead after having to slow for a car entering its pit box as the No. 18 Supra was exiting pit road. The brief checkup put Hemric back to second.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 91-200)
Hemric started second in the final stage and finished second in Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Early in the final stage, Hemric slotted into the second position behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones.
As the green-flag run went longer, the Poppy Bank Supra came to life and Hemric rocketed into the lead again on Lap 119.
Shortly before a round of green-flag pit stops, Hemric reported that his Supra was too loose as AJ Allmendinger took the top spot away from the No. 18 driver. Rogers eventually called Hemric to pit road for four tires and fuel on Lap 148.
Back on track, the No. 18 Supra was scored second again as the laps clicked away before a caution on Lap 174 brought everyone back to pit road for four tires and fuel.
Another brilliant pit stop by the Poppy Bank team vaulted Hemric ahead of Allmendinger in the race off pit road. The No. 18 Supra lined up second for the ensuing restart after JGR driver Ty Dillon opted not to pit.
Hemric wrestled the lead away from Dillon on the restart before another caution slowed the race on Lap 181.
The Poppy Bank Supra led the field to the final restart with 13 laps remaining. Allmendinger was able to utilize the shorter distance in the inside lane to bypass Hemric into turn one before the high lane’s momentum could propel the No. 18 car as it had most of the day. As a result, Hemric settled into second and began trying to chase down the No. 16 car in the closing laps.
The No. 18 team simply ran out of laps as Hemric ended the day with a runner-up finish.
Hemric led eight times for a race-high 74 laps on Saturday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It marks the most laps he has led in a single race since October 2018.
The No. 18 team’s runner-up finish led Joe Gibbs Racing’s four car effort in Las Vegas. JGR driver Brandon Jones finished third while Harrison Burton and Ty Dillon finished ninth and 31st, respectively.
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra How strong was your race car today? “This was the best Poppy Bank Toyota Supra we’ve had all year. We’ve had good finishes, but this is by far the most speed we’ve had. I’m disappointed to have one get away like that and get beat, but AJ (Allmendinger) did an incredible job. I felt like our cars were fairly equal. I would be a little better than him on one part of the run and he would be better than me at one part of the run. I just took off on the splitter there on the last couple short runs. We came a long way though. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and I weren’t very thrilled last week after we left Homestead, but we did the right things this week. We’re close and if we keep doing that, we’ll win plenty this year.” Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series travels to Phoenix Raceway next weekend for the season’s fifth event. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. -JGR-