June 14, 2020
Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 167 laps Weather: Cloudy; 87 degrees
No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet Camaro
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet, was in contention to battle for the victory in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway before contact during the first attempt at overtime sent the JR Motorsports driver hard into the inside retaining wall. The subsequent damage from the incident rendered Hemric unable to continue, ultimately resulting in a 31st-place finish.
Stage One Finish: 8th
Getting behind the wheel for the second NXS event of the weekend, Hemric looked to replicate the same success that JRM team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. had on Saturday. However, due to the driver change between the two races, Hemric was forced to relinquish his 11th-place starting position and take the green flag from the rear of the field. Despite starting in the back, the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet charged forward, needing just five laps to race into the top 15 and up to the 12thposition by the time the scheduled competition caution was displayed on lap 20. Hemric’s ascent up the leaderboard didn’t stop there, as the 29-year-old driver raced into the top 10 for the first time on lap 25 and took advantage of a lap 36 restart to drive into eighth. Hemric would remain there for the final four laps of the opening stage and earn three valuable stage points for the No. 8 team.
Stage Two Finish: 5th
While under the stage-ending caution, Hemric radioed to crew chief Taylor Moyer that the Poppy Bank Chevrolet was tight-rolling through the corner. As a result, Moyer called the Kannapolis, N.C. native to pit road for four tires and an adjustment in the hopes of improving the handling, sending Hemric back out for the beginning of Stage Two in the seventh position. Once back underway, Hemric continued his march toward the front, racing up to as high as second while swapping positions back and forth with JRM teammate Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe and Harrison Burton. The driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet ultimately settled into the fifth position as the caution-free second stage came to a close on lap 80. The stage-ending result also earned Hemric and the No. 8 team an additional six stage points in the process.
Final Stage: 31st
Moyer called Hemric back to pit road prior to the beginning of the third and final stage for four tires and another round of adjustments after the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet had reported that he still needed some help getting through the corner. A strong stop by the pit crew saw Hemric move up to the fourth position for the lap 84 restart. The 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year remained inside the top five throughout the run that followed and was sitting in fifth when the window opened for the lone round of green-flag pit stops. However, Hemric lost valuable time on the track after having to narrowly avoid another car while trying to make his entrance onto pit road, forcing the JRM driver to make an extra lap before coming in to the pits for his scheduled stop on lap 122.
Hemric persevered despite the loss of track position after the stop, climbing back from the eighth position to rejoin the top five before a timely caution on lap 165 set up NASCAR’s version of overtime. Moyer opted to use this caution to bring Hemric back to pit road for the final set of fresh tires and another strong stop sent the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet back out in the third position.
On the ensuing restart, Hemric found himself on the outside line as the field exited the second corner when contact from the inside line knocked the Poppy Bank Chevrolet sideways, sending the JRM driver hard into the inside retaining wall. Hemric was unable to get rolling again as a result of the damage, prematurely ending his afternoon just shy of the finish.
In the end, Hemric was scored with a 31st-place finish.
“It’s really unfortunate that we got collected in that deal on that last restart. I feel like we were in the right position to strike at the end with our Poppy Bank Chevrolet but luck just wasn’t on our side. I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and all of the guys on this JR Motorsports team enough for all of their hard work this weekend. These guys had a long day yesterday and came back today ready to go and we were there and in position when it mattered. We’ll bounce back from this and be ready to go for the next one.”