Richard Childress Racing has promoted Daniel Hemric to drive the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019. Hemric, 27, boasts back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff berths at RCR, including a Championship 4 appearance at Homestead-Miami Speedway during his rookie season.
While some kids get their start riding bikes with training wheels, Hemric was championing go-karts at the age of five and within the next six years, his driving accolades included 11 wins and a Concord (North Carolina) Speedway track championship.
Bandoleros, Legend Cars and Late Models followed with the same success, with 60 victories, back-to-back Legend Car Pro championships (2008 and 2009), the National Legend Car Pro championship and two Summer Shootout Series titles (2009 and 2013). He would also go on to win the Champion Racing Association JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championship (2012) and the Southern Super Series championship (2013).
In 2010, Hemric took home the largest paycheck in Legend Car history when he won the inaugural Legends Millions race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the largest one-of-a-kind grassroots event featuring more than 300 entries. The titles kept coming with Summer Shootout Series and Champion Racing Association JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championships in 2012 and in 2013 and the Southern Super Series championship.
Before joining RCR, Hemric drove two full seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In 50 starts, the Kannapolis native scored 15 top-five and 30 top-10 results along with two top-10 finishes in the driver championship point standings.
"We’ve had our eye on Daniel since he raced with Austin (Dillon) and Ty (Dillon) in Bandolero cars and then into Legends racing," said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR.
"We hired him to drive our No. 21 Xfinity entry in 2017 and our plan was to develop Daniel and move him up to the Cup Series when the time was right. We believe that time is now," he said.
"Daniel has won championships in just about everything he’s raced, and I hope we can add an Xfinity Series title before season’s end," he said. "He battled for the championship right to the end last year. He’s had another strong year in 2018 and will represent RCR well in the Cup Series along with iconic brands including Caterpillar and Chevrolet."
Hemric, who grew up in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the same hometown as the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., is ready to join NASCAR’s premier series driving the No. 31 alongside longtime friend and veteran teammate Austin Dillon. Hemric joins several other Cup Series regulars who have successfully risen through RCR’s acclaimed Xfinity Series program.
"Ever since I was a kid growing up in Kannapolis, I followed and rooted for RCR," said Hemric. "I enjoyed competing against Austin and Ty years ago and we became close friends along the way. My dream has always been to race for championships in the NASCAR Cup Series. I have worked hard to get here and those who know me and have supported me, know I take nothing for granted.
"The time has come to take that next step, and I want to thank Richard for believing in me and providing such an amazing opportunity. I also look forward to working together closely with Austin and the No. 3 team during the 2019 season," said Hemric.
In 60 NXS starts for RCR, Hemric has earned three pole awards, 20 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes. He boasts an average start of 8.3 and an average finish of 11.6. Hemric also qualified for the Xfinity Series Playoffs in 2017 and 2018, and currently sits second in the championship points standings.
Further announcements on sponsors and other details will be made at a later date.