Hemric, CRAFTSMAN Team Finish Second at Texas
Date: October 16, 2021
Event: Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 (Round 30 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: 200 laps (Stages: 45 laps / 45 laps / 110 laps)
Start / Finish: 3rd / 2nd (Running, 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 5th (3060 points, -2 points below the current Playoff cutoff)
Race Winner: John Hunter Nemechek
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric
Stage 2 Winner: John Hunter Nemechek
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
Daniel Hemric started Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway from the third position and finished 13th in stage one.
Hemric settled into the top five early on while reporting that his CRAFTSMAN Toyota Supra was too tight, especially in turns three and four.
Following the competition caution, Hemric found himself running third until a caution on lap 40 presented teams with the predicament of staying out to collect stage points or pitting to put themselves in a better position to begin stage two. Crew chief Dave Rogers opted to bring Hemric to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment. The call dropped the No. 18 Supra to 16th for a restart with only one lap remaining in the stage.
Hemric rallied from 16th to 13th in the one-lap dash to end the segment and stayed out when most other drivers pitted between stages.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90)
Hemric started first and finished second in stage two.
The CRAFTSMAN Supra led early in the second stage until relinquishing the top spot to teammate John Hunter Nemechek.
Hemric held on to the runner-up position through the end of the segment on lap 90.
Rogers called Hemric to pit road between stages for four fresh tires, fuel, and another chassis adjustment.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 91-200)
Hemric started the final stage in the second position and finished second in Saturday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hemric spent the first half of the final stage running second behind Nemechek until a caution on lap 144 brought all of the leaders to pit road. The CRAFTSMAN Supra exited pit road second behind the No. 54 car, but Hemric inherited the race lead after Nemechek was penalized for a pit road infraction.
Hemric restarted as the leader with 51 laps remaining and built a lead of more than two seconds over second place.
A caution on lap 173 brought Hemric and most of the leaders to pit road. The No. 18 team pitted for four fresh tires. JGR driver Harrison Burton took over the lead after choosing not to pit during the caution while Nemechek moved into second after taking only fresh right-side tires. Hemric was scored third.
Hemric lined up as the second car in the outside lane for the final restart with 21 laps to go and proceeded to follow Nemechek past Burton.
The No. 18 driver spent the closing laps trying to find a way to catch Nemechek, but ultimately ran out of laps as Hemric ended the day with a runner-up finish.
Hemric claimed his fourth consecutive top-five finish – all coming during the Playoffs. His current streak of top-five finishes matches his career best.
Hemric led three times for 55 laps in Saturday’s race. For the season, he has led a career-high 582 laps.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver John Hunter Nemechek earned the organization’s 10th win of the season and 16th victory at Texas Motor Speedway. Hemric ended the day second with Harrison Burton eighth and Brandon Jones 10th.
Daniel Hemric, Driver of the No. 18 CRAFTSMAN Toyota Supra
What more did you need out of your race car to chase your teammate down?
“They just made a really good call there to take two tires. Obviously clean air was so big. When we had clean air with our CRAFTSMAN Supra there at one point, it was really good. We were on the tighter side all day even early when the 54 was better than us, he was just a little free. I just couldn’t quite carry the same mid-corner exit speed. Dave Rogers (crew chief) made good adjustments all day to get it better and once we got that clean air, we were pretty well checked out. The caution came out and they just made a good call there to take two. It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. We were just too tight there and never got far enough into the run to where tires could make a difference and with 20 laps to go, you aren’t going to make up the gap I needed to make up. I was whipping it for all I had and about pounded the fence three or four times trying to catch him. Congrats to those guys. We had a really fast Supra, just not quite good enough.
How much confidence can you take from this race as you move forward to another 1.5-mile track next week in Kansas?
“Same as we have all the Playoffs. Keep bringing the same bullets. These guys are doing a hell of a job. We’ve just got to keep working. That’s all you can do. Keep showing up, keep grinding it out. I’m thankful to be a part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Thankful to know that I can leave it all on the line these next three races for Joe Gibbs Racing and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Kansas Speedway next weekend for the second race of the Round of 8. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, October 23, at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. -JGR-