Daniel Hemric entered the final race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs Round of 8 at Phoenix Raceway seventh in the championship standings, 18 points outside of the transfer position. Starting seventh in the No. 21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet, Hemric knew what he needed to do to make it into the Championship 4 that will battle for the series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the end, the rookie driver raced hard, scored the points needed and earned a spot in the coveted title fight in the season finale.
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“I’m just so proud of everybody at Richard Childress Racing – not just today, but all year,” said Hemric. “We’ve overcome so much as a group. A huge thanks to all of our partners that have stuck with us, kept believing in us, giving us faith and giving us everything we need to get to the racetrack every week.
“It all came down to a restart with 10 or 12 laps to go and everybody’s hearts are on the line and everybody’s season is on the line,” he said. “I’m so proud of these guys. I’m glad we could prevail. It was our last race with Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff on the car and I’m proud to give them a strong finish this weekend.”
With a strong long-run car underneath of him, Hemric was able to score the most stage points of any of the playoff contenders, earning a total of 15 playoff points throughout the first two stages. Still, the driver of the No. 21 was not guaranteed a spot in the championship race.
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Instead, Hemric had to battle Cole Custer for the final transfer position. The two fought hard and clean over the final laps, with Hemric beating him in a drag race to the checkered flag. Over the final green flag run, Hemric did what he needed to do to secure a spot in the Championship 4 and give Richard Childress Racing a shot at the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.
— NASCAR XFINITY (@NASCAR_XFINITY) November 11, 2017
“To know that we could race like we did, race with the 00 (Cole Custer) there at the end knowing the points situation is great. I know we were both giving it all we could. We didn’t take a breath at all probably the last five or six laps,” he said. “It’s been fun battling all of these guys all year. One lap, one moment, that is what the NASCAR Playoffs are about.”
In order to win the championship title, Hemric will race against Justin Allgaier, William Byron and Elliott Sadler at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With no points on the line, the highest finishing of the four drivers will earn the championship and hoist the trophy at the end of the day.
“It’s really cool to know four Chevrolets are going to go for a championship at Homestead,” said Hemric. “Hats off to our manufacturer that supports us and gives us what we need to get to the racetrack. It’s been a while since Richard Childress Racing has been able to run for a championship, so I’m proud to be able to do it for them this year.”
Coverage of the XFINITY Series season finale is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.
“We get to race for a championship.”@DanielHemric is moving on to @HomesteadMiami after an incredible battle at the finish of today’s race at @PhoenixRaceway! #XfinityPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/Eql8upwnUu
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 11, 2017