Hemric Has Number of Reasons To Enjoy 2019

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, February 13 2019
Rookie Daniel Hemric is a good pick to sport historic number at RCR. (RacinTdoday/HHP file photo by /Ashley R Dickerson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daniel Hemric’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie season with Richard Childress Racing is filled with sentimentality.

Besides being RCR’s 50th anniversary, Hemric shares his hometown (Kannapolis, N.C.)  and car number (8) with the Earnhardt family. It’s the number Ralph Earnhardt, the family’s patriarch and 1956 NASCAR Sportsman champion, used on his winning race cars. Dale Earnhardt used it at the beginning of his racing career and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s cars carried it when he drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

With the closure of DEI, the number went back to NASCAR. Team owner Richard Childress requested it and has reserved it every year since he obtained it. It only seemed appropriate for Childress to return it to competition with another Kannapolis native. However, the final decision wasn’t made until he discussed with the Earnhardt family.

“I was all about the (No.) 8,” Hemric said Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway during Media Day. “I’ve driven so many different car numbers (in my career) that I’ve never gotten stuck on certain numbers. All I really cared about was having a race car to drive, but when Richard made it an option for me to have it, I was like, ‘Why would we not? We’ve got to carry it.’ It’s cool to see the support we’ve had rally behind us.”

Hemric possesses a “huge sense of pride” in calling Kannapolis his hometown and he believes that carries throughout the race shop.  

“I feel like when they realize where I’ve come from, where I’ve been and how I’ve gotten to this point it kinda puts a little pep in everybody’s step with the ‘American dream’ of guys getting here,” Hemric said.

“As a kid growing up, being a Dale Earnhardt fan, pulling for the black (No.) 3 and for RCR, it was every kid’s dream to be in that situation. I never thought it would come to fruition.”   

Not only does Hemric share his hometown with the Earnhardt family, but also the way he reached stock car racing’s pinnacle. He earned it, often working on his own race cars.

Hemric began competing in go-karts at age 5 at Concord (N.C.) Motorsports Park with a dream of one day racing cars professionally. Five years later he moved up to Bandoleros and competed in that division until age 15. Next he focused on Legend cars where he won the 2009 national championship in addition to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout Series title. In 2010, he won CMS’ Legends Million and points to that event as the boost his career needed.

Three years later Hemric claimed the Southern Super Series championship. That year Hemric also made his NASCAR Truck Series debut, but he didn’t have a full-time ride on that circuit until 2015 when he joined NTS Motorsports. Two years later Childress hired Hemric to drive one of his Xfinity Series cars and last year he made his Cup debut at Richmond. This year, more than two decades after Hemric’s dream of a professional racing career was fostered, the modest driver finds himself with a full-time ride in the Cup Series with the same team for which his childhood hero drove.

“I’m just the average working American looking for a shot to do anything positive in life,” Hemric said. “All you can ask for is opportunity and I’ve been given a great one here.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, February 13 2019
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