In his return to full-time NASCAR competition, Daniel Hemric is within reach of a milestone start. By competing in this weekend’s Xfinity Series event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra will reach 100 career starts in the Xfinity circuit.
A native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Hemric made his inaugural presence in the Xfinity Series in 2017. By then, he was coming off his second full-time season in the Truck Series, where he earned 11 top-five results, 17 top-10 results and a spot in the Playoffs, where he finished in sixth place in the final standings as a Brad Keselowski Racing competitor.
Two months prior to the 2016 Truck season’s conclusion, Hemric was named a full-time Xfinity competitor for Richard Childress Racing and in the No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro.
Hemric opened his rookie Xfinity season on a low note by finishing 31st after being involved in an early multi-car wreck. He rallied the following week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he achieved his first top-10 result in the Xfinity circuit after finishing ninth. Five races later, Hemric earned his first top-five result at Bristol Motor Speedway in April after finishing fifth, where he also led eight laps, won the second stage and claimed the Dash 4 Cash bonus in the race. His momentum continued the following week at Richmond Raceway, where he started on pole position for the first time in his career, led 26 laps and finished in third place.
Throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch, Hemric achieved a season-best second-place result at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August, a total of five top-five results and 12 top-10 results before clinching his spot in the 2017 Xfinity Playoffs.
During the Playoffs, Hemric advanced from the Round of 12 to the Round of 8 following three consecutive top-10 results. He commenced the Round of 8 with an 18th-place result at Kansas Speedway followed by a 14th-place result at Texas Motor Speedway. Scored on the outside of the top-four cutline to the Championship Round entering the final Round of 8 event at Phoenix Raceway in November, Hemric prevailed over a late two-tire pit strategy and a battle with Cole Custer in the final laps to finish in fifth place, two spots ahead of Custer, and secure the fourth and final spot to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he entered the finale as the only non-JR Motorsports competitor to battle for the title.
During the finale at Homestead, Hemric started the race strong and as the leading title contender. Everything changed during the second stage when he brought his No. 21 Chevrolet to pit road under green after reporting battery issues. While his crew repaired the issue, Hemric returned to the track multiple laps behind and out of title contention as he concluded his rookie season in fourth place in the final standings. Despite missing out on winning the title and the Rookie-of-the-Year title over William Byron, Hemric achieved a pole, seven top-five results, 16 top-10 results and a 13.2 average-finishing result throughout the 2017 season.
Following an impressive rookie season, Hemric retained his seat with RCR for the 2018 Xfinity season. He started on pole position for the season-opening event at Daytona, but finished 26th after being involved in a multi-car incident at the halfway mark. While he did not record a single victory throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch, Hemric and the No. 21 team were strongly consistent as they earned two runner-up results, 12 top-five results, 16 top-10 results and a spot for the 2018 Xfinity Playoffs.
Throughout the Playoffs, including the Rounds of 12 and 8, Hemric finished in the top 10 in all but one event, including an additional two runner-up results, as he returned to the Championship Round at Homestead in November with another opportunity to win his first Xfinity title. During the finale, however, Hemric finished fourth in the main event and settled in third place in the final standings. Despite enduring another winless season, Hemric earned a career-high four poles, 16 top-five results, 23 top-10 results, 440 laps led and a 9.0 average result.
After two impressive, consistent seasons in the Xfinity circuit, Hemric moved up to the Cup Series with RCR in 2019. Despite achieving the 2019 Cup Rookie-of-the-Year title, Hemric was released from RCR following the 2019 season. He ended up joining JR Motorsports as a part-time Xfinity Series competitor for the 2020 season. Driving the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro, Hemric made his first start of a part-time schedule at Las Vegas in February, where he finished 35th after being involved in an early incident that result in a suspension failure. He returned for an additional 20 races throughout the 33-race schedule. During his stint, Hemric earned two season-best runner-up results (Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and Kansas Speedway in October), a total of seven top-five results, 12 top-10 results and an average result of 16.2.
Following the 2020 season, Hemric was named a full-time Xfinity competitor for Joe Gibbs Racing and in the No. 18 Toyota Supra for the 2021 season. He commenced the season in ninth place at Daytona before earning three consecutive top-three results during the following three weeks, including a runner-up result at Las Vegas in March.
Through the first 12 Xfinity events of this season, Hemric has achieved five top-five results, eight top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 11.3. He is currently ranked in fourth place in the Xfinity Series standings.
Through 99 previous Xfinity starts, Hemric has achieved five poles, 35 top-five results and 59 top-10 results, while continuing to pursue his first victory within NASCAR’s top three national touring series.
Hemric is slated to make his 100th Xfinity career start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, June 5, at 1 p.m. ET on FS1.