Nov. 7, 2020
Track Specs: 1-mile, asphalt tri-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy and 68 degrees
No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet Camaro
Daniel Hemric was making steady progress through the field in the early laps of Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway, improving five positions before an issue with the throttle linkage on his Poppy Bank Chevrolet forced the JR Motorsports driver to go behind the wall for repairs. Returning to the track following the repairs, Hemric persevered despite being trapped off of the lead lap, gaining 11 positions over the remainder of the event to come home with a 25th-place finish. Overall, Hemric closes out the 2020 season for JRM with seven top fives, 12 top 10s and a best finish of second at both Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and Kansas Speedway in October.
Stage One Finish: 33rd
Hemric took the green flag for the 200-lap event from the 18th position after the field was set via NASCAR’s mathematical formula earlier in the week. Throughout the opening laps, the Kannapolis, N.C. native charged forward, needing just one lap to move into the top 15 and 10 laps to move up to 13th. However, Hemric’s ascent up the leaderboard was brought to an abrupt halt as the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet reported that something was wrong with the throttle linkage. Bringing the car to pit road under green on lap 16, Hemric was forced to head behind the wall in order for the Poppy Bank crew to make the necessary repairs. Needing just seven laps for the repairs to be complete, Hemric returned to the track in the 36th position. Despite being trapped several laps behind the race leaders, Hemric never gave up, improving three positions to 33rd by the time the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed to end Stage One on lap 45.
Stage Two Finish: 31st
During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to have Hemric take the wave-around in order to gain one of the laps back to the race leaders. Taking the green flag for the start of Stage Two in 33rd, Hemric maintained his track position until a lap-74 caution period provided Moyer with an opportunity to make adjustments to the Poppy Bank Chevrolet. Lining up for the ensuing restart in 33rd, Hemric battled with the cars that were scored on his lap, moving up to 31st and remaining there until the completion of Stage Two on lap 90.
Utilizing the same strategy as at the completion of Stage One, Moyer made the call for Hemric to again stay out and take the wave-around prior to the beginning of the final stage of the afternoon. This call paid off as Hemric was able to gain another three positions on the competition, moving up to 28th when the green flag was displayed on lap 98. The driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet would hold steady in 28th through the lone round of green-flag pit stops. Then, Hemric would take advantage of the restart following a lap-170 caution period to march up to the 25thposition by the time the final caution flag of the day flew on lap 197.
However, Hemric was unable to make any more progress in the closing laps as he was the highest-scored car on his lap. In the end, Hemric took the checkered flag in the 25th position.
Hemric concludes the 2020 season having made 21 starts for JRM, with seven of those finishes being inside the top five and 12 being in the top 10.
Daniel Hemric, driver No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet team
“I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and everyone on this JR Motorsports team enough for this season. This is a great group of guys that is resilient and extremely talented. We were able to overcome obstacle after obstacle and kept our heads held high and gave it everything we had no matter what. I really hate that we had some bad luck today and that we didn’t get to end the season on as high of a note as we were hoping for, but I am really proud of everything we did this year and how far we came as a team.”