Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sept. 26, 2020
Track Specs: 1.5-mile asphalt quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Sunny, 98 degrees
No. 8 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 8 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet, made a strong three-widemove while battling inside the top five on the final restart of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to earn a hard-fought third-place finish. The result is the second top five in the last three races for the No. 8 team, as well as Hemric’s second top five in his last four races dating back to the second leg of the doubleheader at Dover International Speedway at the end of August. The third-place finish also moves the No. 8 team to ninth in the owner standings, just one point behind the eighth and final playoff position with two races remaining in the Round of 12. Following the completion of the Oct. 10 event at the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the bottom four teams in the owner standings will be eliminated from playoff contention.
Stage One Finish: 8th
Hemric took the green flag for the opening race in the 2020 NXS Playoffs from the 14th position after the starting lineup was set via NASCAR’s new formula earlier in the week. After two early caution periods delayed Hemric’s ascent up the leaderboard, the driver of the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet marched into the top 10 for the first time following a lap-23 restart, ultimately moving up to the eighth position by the completion of lap 34. Hemric held steady in eighth throughout the remainder of Stage One despite reporting to crew chief Taylor Moyer that he had developed a tight-handling condition rolling through the corner. Although not handling to his liking, Hemric was able to come away with three valuable stage points once the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed to end Stage One on lap 45.
Stage Two Finish: 8th
During the stage-ending caution, Moyer called the driver of the South Point Hotel & Casino 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 beginning of Stage Two in 11th, Hemric needed only one lap to rejoin the top 10. The 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year continued his climb forward from there, taking advantage of the caution-free second stage to move up to the eighth position on lap 71. The JR Motorsports driver held steady in eighth for the final 19 laps of Stage Two, ultimately netting the No. 8 team an additional three stage points, giving the team a total of six additional points on the evening.
Final Stage: 3rd
Prior to the beginning of the third and final stage of the evening, the Kannapolis, N.C. native returned to pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments. Lining up in the 11th position following the pit stop, the driver of the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet quickly marched back into the top 10, needing just two laps to gain two positions to ninth. Hemric continued to push forward throughout the green flag run that followed, racing into eighth on lap 125 and maintaining that position despite reporting to Moyer that his JRM Camaro had shifted toward the loose-side. Despite the handling woes, Hemric continued to pace in the eighth position until the lone round of green flag pit stops got underway on lap 145. Hitting pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments, Hemric returned to the track in 12th but ultimately cycled back to the seventh position as the green flag stops drew to a close just before a lap 154 caution period.
Opting to take advantage of the new choose rule, Hemric lined up on the inside of the third row for the lap-160 restart, propelling the driver of the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet solidly into the top five and up to fourth. From there, Hemric traded positions with JRM teammates Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier over the ensuing 25 laps before the field was slowed for what turned out to be the final caution period of the evening on lap 186.
During this caution, Moyer made the call to bring Hemric back to pit road for the final set of fresh tires. A strong stop by the South Point Hotel & Casino crew saw Hemric leave pit road in the fifth position as the field prepared for a nine-lap shootout to the finish. Lining up on the inside of the third row, Hemric charged forward on the restart, utilizing the middle lane to make it three-wide through Turns 1 and 2 and race into third position.
The driver of the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet remained in third for the final eight laps to secure his fourth top-five finish of the 2020 season and the second in his last four starts.
The result also moves the No. 8 team to ninth in the owner standings, one point behind the eighth and final playoff position with two races remaining in the Round of 12.
Daniel Hemric, driver No. 8 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet:
“We executed tonight and I can’t thank everyone on this JR Motorsports team and everyone at South Point Hotel & Casino enough for their hard work and support. It feels good to come here and have the kind of solid night we had, especially given the fact that this No. 8 team is fighting for that owner’s championship. That makes a run like this even better when we were able to put some extra chips in that basket to make a run at that championship. We’ll keep building from this and be ready to get after them next week in Talladega.”
Next up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series travels to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Saturday's race at the 2.66-mile quad oval. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN, MRN Radio, and SiriusXM 90.