Watkins Glen = the most fun style of race you will ever run
Race 22: Watkins Glen
No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Watkins Glen International
Daniel Hemric will make his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Watkins Glen International during this weekend's 90-lap event. The driver of the No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 started 25th and raced his way to 15th in his first Cup Series road course start of the season at Sonoma Raceway in June. In seven road course starts over two years in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Hemric recorded three top-five and four top-10 finishes, with 33 laps led.
You made your second Cup Series start in 2018 at the Charlotte Roval and have had strong runs on road courses in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Do you enjoy racing on road courses and how have you worked to get better over the years?
"Everybody always says, 'Man, you're quite the road course racer.' I've never understood why or where that comes from, but I have had some decent success on the road courses in the Truck and Xfinity Series, and had a solid top-15 day at Sonoma Raceway earlier this year and everyone on the team was pretty pumped about that. Heading to Watkins Glen this weekend, I look forward to just working with my crew chief, Luke Lambert, on our communication and doing the things we did well at our first road course together back in June. Watkins Glen is the most fun style of race that you will ever run. It is a different animal and a very fast track. I believe that some of the things you fight at the mile-and-a-half tracks, you find show up on the road course of Watkins Glen because it is so fast and aero is so important with the speeds we are making and the grip we need to have. Hopefully, we can key on all of the things we need to have a good run there with the No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1."
How do you prepare for the road courses such as Watkins Glen?
"Watkins Glen is a place that over the years - outside of the repave - has been the same. You can really dive into the good notes you took as a driver from previous starts there, to other crew chiefs and other drivers' notes that they've kept to really hone in on those things. Then you jump on the simulator and apply all of those notes and information. GM has an incredible simulator there that we can run a ton of laps on. Honestly, I'm not big on getting in that simulator until the week of a race. I want to be all-in, 100 percent committed and have the freshest mindset going into that racetrack as I can. For the Sonoma race, I spent nearly 24 hours collectively on the simulator making laps. This week's prep wasn't quite as extensive because I've been in a Cup car now road course racing. I had never been to Sonoma, so I spent a lot more time on that track, but knowing what I want to feel at Watkins Glen, it was still a lot of hours logged driving on the simulator."
Meet the Driver
Hemric is scheduled to be at the Richard Childress Racing merchandise hauler to sign autographs on Sunday, August 4, starting at 11 a.m. local time. He will also make an appearance for a Q&A session and tour the Caterpillar "In the Trenches" Mobile Road Show in the Watkins Glen Fan Midway, starting at 11:30 a.m. local time on race day.
Meet the Press
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender will meet with members of the NASCAR media on Saturday, August 3, starting at Noon ET in the Watkins Glen International Media Center.
Review Mirror: Pocono
Hemric and the No. 8 team had a strong weekend at Pocono Raceway, earning their second top-10 finish of the 2019 season. Starting from the 17th position, Hemric ran toward the front of the field all afternoon and was no lower than 21st at any point throughout the race. The seventh-place finish helped extend Hemric's lead in the 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
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