LAS VEGAS, NV — Daniel Hemric is excited for the opportunity with JR Motorsports. This weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hemric will start a 21 race campaign with JRM in their No. 8 Chevrolet.
Yes, last year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Cup Series is back down in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for a part-time gig. The North Carolina native will run in all but 12 races for JRM in 2020 as part of a what he says will be a make or break season.
Hemric, 29, is ready to prove himself again on this level, a place where raced two seasons already (2017-2018) and had showed that he can take car of equipment. While at Richard Childress Racing, Hemric competed in 66 races over a span of two years. In that time frame, he was running at the finish in 61 of them. Despite not ever reaching victory lane, Hemric did have 23 top five finishes, improving from 7 in 2017 to 16 in 2018, to go along with 39 top 10 finishes.
That led him to a Cup ride with RCR a year ago following the departure of Ryan Newman to Roush Fenway Racing. Unfortunately for Hemric, RCR had also just signed defending NXS champion Tyler Reddick with plans on moving the California native up to Cup in 2020.
Reddick, won the title again last year to go along with six wins, 24 top five finishes and 27 top 10’s. He gave RCR an ultimatum that in order for him to return in 2020, it would have to be in a Cup seat.
Austin Dillon is Richard Chidress’ grandson and wasn’t going anywhere. The funding wasn’t there to expand to a three-car team again, so Reddick was going to be replacing Hemric in the No. 8 Chevrolet at the Cup level.
That left Hemric with no where to go other than back to NXS. What better ride to take than one with JRM, albeit on a limited basis. That has its pressure too as if he can’t perform in a JRM ride, then his chances of moving back up to a quality Cup ride is obsolete.
“I’m not content by no means,” Hemric said this weekend from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But, I’m somewhat settled knowing it’s up to me to get myself back to that level and that’s what these 21 races are all about.
“I look at it as yeah, it’s 21 chances, but every week is going to be like my last one. That’s the way I’m treating it.”
Hemric, says that he 100-percent knows what’s riding on him in terms of pressure for 2020. If he can go out and succeed, then his goal of making Cup owners take notice of him and have to put him in a Cup car will be met.