July 25, 2020
Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 167 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy; 92 degrees
No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet Camaro
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet, battled through a chaotic green-white-checkered restart to earn a seventh-place finish in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kansas Speedway. With the result, Hemric has now scored a top-10 finish in seven of his 11 starts for JR Motorsports in 2020 and keeps the No. 8 team 74 points ahead of the 12thand final playoff position in the owner standings.
Stage One Finish: 7th
With the field set once again via a random draw earlier in the week, Hemric lined up for the scheduled 167-lap event from the ninth position. From the drop of the green flag the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet advanced forward, racing up to the sixth position by the time the scheduled competition caution was displayed on lap 20. On the ensuing restart, Hemric took advantage of a three-wide move to drive up to third before reporting to crew chief Taylor Moyer that he had developed a tight-handling condition on the exit of the corner. This hindrance on the exit proved problematic for Hemric, as the JRM driver fought hard for position inside the top 10 before ultimately taking the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage One on Lap 40 in the seventh position. Although not handling to his liking, this stage-ending result earned Hemric and the No. 8 team four valuable stage points.
Stage Two Finish: 9th
While under the stage-ending caution, Moyer called the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of improving the tight-handling condition. Returning to the track for the lap 46 restart in seventh, Hemric initially reported that the handling had gotten better and that they were trending in the right direction. However, as the caution-free second stage progressed, the tight-handling condition returned. Despite the handling issue, Hemric continued to race inside the top 10, battling with Riley Herbst and JRM teammate Noah Gragson before taking the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 80 in ninth and netting an additional two stage points to bring the race total up to six.
Final Stage: 7th
Prior to the beginning of the final stage of the afternoon, Moyer called for the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year to return to pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments. Due to the multitude of adjustments, Hemric lined up for the beginning of Stage Three in the 11th position. Once back underway Hemric pushed forward, quickly advancing up to the eighth position before reporting that the Poppy Bank Chevrolet had now gone to the loose-side rolling through the corner. This loose-handling condition initially shuffled the 29-year-old driver back to 12th, but as a long green-flag run began to develop, Hemric turned into one of the fastest cars on the racetrack. As a result, Hemric charged back into the top 10 and up to the seventh position by the time the lone round of green flag pit stops got underway.
Following the same strategy as the race leaders, Hemric came to pit road under green on lap 128 for four tires and an air-pressure adjustment. With a wide variety of strategies taking place amongst the front runners, Hemric methodically climbed back up the leaderboard following the stop, ultimately moving into the top five once the green flag cycle was finally completed on lap 145. The driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet continued to fight inside the top five, swapping positions with JRM teammate Justin Allgaier for several laps before settling in to the fourth position before a caution with just three laps remaining set up NASCAR’s version of overtime.
After a round of pit stops, Hemric lined up sixth for the overtime restart. He quickly passed two cars entering Turn 1 before the caution flew and the field was re-racked. Hemric started fourth on the final restart on lap 173 as the second car on the outside line. After some gamesmanship by the leader on the restart, Hemric was left to battle hard, racing three-wide for position for over a lap before taking the checkered flag in the seventh position.
The top-10 result is Hemric’s seventh of the season in just 11 NXS starts for JRM and helps the No. 8 team remain 11th in the owner standings, 74 points ahead of the 12th and final playoff position.
Daniel Hemric, driver No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet team
"We were in a good position on that last restart there with our Poppy Bank Chevrolet, but anything can happen in these late-race restarts and we just didn’t have the luck go our way. But I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and all the guys on this JR Motorsports team enough. We made some really good adjustments throughout the course of the day and got our car where we needed it to be at the end. So we’ll continue to build off of this and keep heading in the right direction.”
Hemric returns to the No. 8 Chevrolet in two weeks at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Saturday, Aug. 8.