Hemric Runner-Up at Road America
HEMRIC FINISHES SECOND AS JOE GIBBS RACING
CLAIMS 1-2 RESULT AT ROAD AMERICA
Date: July 3, 2021
Event: Henry 180 (Round 17 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Road America (4.048-mile road course)
Format: 45 laps (Stages: 10 laps / 10 laps / 25 laps)
Start / Finish: 4th / 3rd (Running, 45 of 45 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (616 points, -105 points out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 1 Winner: AJ Allmendinger
Stage 2 Winner: AJ Allmendinger
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-10)
Daniel Hemric started Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America from the fourth position and finished sixth in stage one.
The Poppy Bank Toyota Supra settled into the top five early in the race. When the caution waved on lap 6, crew chief Dave Rogers called Hemric to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.
The team’s strategy dropped the No. 18 Supra to 15th for a restart with two laps remaining in the segment, but Hemric capitalized on the fresher tires to charge back up to sixth before the stage ended on lap 10.
Following the stage, Hemric stayed on track while most of the other cars made their first pit stops.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 11-20)
Hemric started third and finished third in stage two.
With the front two cars restarting on older tires, Hemric pounced immediately in turn one and grabbed the lead before another caution slowed the race.
The Poppy Bank Supra led the field to a lap-16 restart but slipped back to fifth as Hemric reported the car was lacking rear grip.
Hemric recovered two of the lost positions in the closing laps of the segment to end up third on lap 20.
During the caution between stages, Rogers called Hemric to pit road for four tires, fuel, and another air pressure adjustment. The front dozen cars did not pit with Hemric, so the No. 18 Supra was scored 13th.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 21-45)
Hemric started the final stage in 13th and finished second in the Xfinity Series race at Road America.
In the first five laps of the segment, Hemric was back into the top five.
The Poppy Bank team pitted for four tires and fuel during a caution on lap 28. NASCAR penalized the team for a crew member going over the wall too soon and Hemric had to drop to the rear of the field for the ensuing restart.
With the Xfinity Series having a limited number of tire sets, the No. 18 team had used their final set during the pit stop. However, a heads-up call by Rogers brought Hemric back to pit road to reapply the previous set of tires in order to save the freshest set for a late caution.
Hemric restarted 28th on lap 30 and made his way back up to 16th before the next caution on lap 35.
The team used this caution to bring Hemric back to pit road for the fresh set of tires for the closing laps of the race.
The Poppy Bank Supra restarted 16th with eight laps to go and Hemric gained two spots before another caution slowed the race again. After four cars in front of him pitted for damage repair, Hemric lined up 10th with six laps remaining.
Hemric spent the final six laps methodically working his way back towards the front and bypassed Michael Annett on the final lap to claim a runner-up finish.
The Poppy Bank team led three laps in Saturday’s race. They have now led in 12 of 17 races this season.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch secured his Xfinity Series record 101st victory in Saturday’s race after taking the lead with five laps to go. Hemric finished second with Harrison Burton fifth, Brandon Jones 19th and Ty Gibbs 33rd.
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra
What did you need there in the closing laps?
“Just a yellow or something to close the gap. I thought we did a pretty good job taking care of it – clean racecar, fresh tires – when we had the opportunity to take care of it throughout the race. For whatever reason, the holes didn’t quite go the way I thought they were going to go and some of them closed, and I lost too much time to Kyle (Busch) there to make it up. I gave it all I had – tongue hanging out at the last six laps trying to get to the point where I at least had a shot at it. I’m really proud of everyone at Poppy Bank. I’m really proud of everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing for an incredible Camry, not Camry – Supra. I would like to drive a Camry one day. I say that and the fender is knocked in on this thing – makes it look like a Camry. I’ve had a ton of fun racing with these guys this year, and they hate running second. No one hates it more than I do, especially as many times as it has happened. We are doing the right things. We just have to continue to execute, and we will have our day.”
This is your ninth runner-up finish in the Xfinity Series. What’s it going to take to take that next step?
“We just have to stop handicapping ourselves whenever that final stage is. I thought we got over that with our stage two. I thought we were setting ourselves up where we weren’t at least starting from the tail and then we had the penalty with the mistiming with jumping over the wall and we got a penalty. We started the last two runs from the back and that’s the difference from being an extra row or two on the restart, the way things funneled in here. If you don’t get the pass done, it cost you a lap as crazy as that sounds and that is what happened. If I could have cleared those guys a lap or two sooner, that would have at least given me the opportunity to have a clean racetrack. We had newer tires than he did, it was just track position. I’m proud of everyone on this Poppy Bank Toyota Supra team. They’ve done an incredible job.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series makes its second trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, July 10, at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.