DOVER, Del. – The Monster Mile bit a few drivers Friday night in the Lucas Oil 200, but @DanielHemric was unfazed as he earned a career-best finish.
Hemric, 24, saw Dover International Speedway for the first time in the Camping World Truck Series and instantly took a liking to the concrete. Though he qualified 19th, the rookie found a rhythm inside the top-10 through the 200 laps of racing and finished fourth. The finish bests a previous career-high from Kansas Speedway (10th) earlier this month.
“Our California Clean Power Chevy was pretty fast since we unloaded, and we slowly tuned on it throughout the race. When the sun went down it really helped us out and gave us the overall grip we needed,” Hemric said.
“Guys had awesome pit stop there and gave us track position on that last restart. Man, just can’t thank all these guys for sticking with me. It’s been a tough year, so it’s cool to come here and get a good finish for California Clean Power, NTS Motorsports and all these guys. Just really thankful for the opportunity.”
Hemric is running the full Truck Series season for NTS Motorsports after making a name for himself on short tracks in Super Late Models. His early experience came in Legends cars, which includes winning the 2010 Legends Million at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the quarter-mile track.
Now in the national series, Hemric acknowledged not only seeing progress, but having others recognize it will go a long way.
“It’s huge. It’s huge for everybody,” he said. “It’s not just me. It’s everybody that puts their heart and soul in a deal like this. There’s been a lot of people helping me through my career, so this is for everybody, and hopefully we can build on this and move forward.”
Hemric’s worst result in six race came at the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway, 29th, but since then he’s rolled off five consecutive top-20 finishes. Friday night’s 200-mile event was more a game of survival for some as it produced eight cautions and plenty of torn up trucks.
Except Hemric’s No. 14, who came home in one piece.
“It was pretty wild. You had to definitely put yourself in good positions all day,” he said afterward. “The California Clean, NTS Motorsports Chevrolet was good, we just had to tune there a little bit it throughout the day.
“As the sun went down that was the biggest key for us and really picked up the overall grip that we needed to be able to race those guys at the end. Still lacking a little bit but by far the best performance of the year.”
The Camping World Truck Series now hits their rhythm with six events in the last seven weeks, including the next four straight. Hemric believes he and his Ryan McKinney led team are hitting a stride of their own.
“For sure. To start the year out you don’t want to start out the way we did, but we’re now able to put a couple good finishes together,” Hemric said. “It’s big for us and the entire team and we’ll roll on to Texas.”
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