HAMPTON, Ga. — Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric played catch-up for most of the day in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but it paid off in the end with a top-10 finish.
Hemric fell back a few spots on the start but climbed into the top-five on lap 40 after completing the first stage. However, the XFINITY rookie’s charge towards the front came to a screeching halt when the No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet fell from fifth to 15th after the first pit stop.
For the rest of the race, Hemric hovered around the back-half of the top-10, before ending up ninth at the checkered flag.
“We didn’t have an issue there, we had an issue with the driver getting on pit road the first stop,” Hemric said about a reported windshield issue. “We were better than a ninth-place car today. I can’t thank everyone at Blue Gate Bank for coming on-board this Chevrolet. This team’s got a lot of fight and we showed that coming from the back there about once or twice and just made too many mistakes.”
“I understand we got a yellow-stripe on the back bumper … but I’ve raced with those who don’t made mistakes like that. I clean up stuff on my end. I’m proud of our effort, and the guys on pit road did a great job bailing me out a couple times. We’ll roll on to Vegas. It’s something to build off of. Again, I’m really proud of these guys.”
The top-10 finish came one week after the RCR driver’s XFINITY Series debut went up in smoke due to a multi-car crash on lap 30 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, while he was running inside the top five and contending for the lead.
It was a different story at Atlanta, with numerous Cup drivers entered in the XFINITY race that combined to lead all 163 laps. Hemric finished fifth in the first stage and ninth in both stage two and three during the 250-mile event.
He competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year in the Camping World Truck Series, scoring a top-five in the Truck event at AMS, but said that the handling of the two vehicles was markedly different.
“Obviously, being the first 1.5-mile race, there was a lot to digest here. I think restarts and the way they fan out aren’t a whole lot different (than the Trucks) but the runs seemed to be not as great to where every inch counts. I’ve just got to figure out how to be a little more aggressive, put myself in a little better lane and go to work.”
“I’m confident in what we have as an organization in RCR, ECR. Everybody brought a really good car this weekend so I got to beat myself up tomorrow about the mistakes I made, move forward and get ready for Vegas.”
Audio with Daniel Hemric:
About the Writer
Kyle Magda is a freelance writer and Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online who broke into racing in mid-2001, as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.
The 24-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the UNOH All-Stars Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
Email Kyle at: email@example.com
Follow on Twitter: @KyleMagda
Email Race Chaser Online: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews