If Daniel Hemric has an extra skip in his step this weekend, there’s a reason for it. He will climb into his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Cup Series machine with a new primary sponsor: Celsius Energy.
However, the organization has been a longtime partner with Kaulig Racing, and the company recently served as Justin Haley’s primary partner during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Now, it’s Hemric’s turn to showcase its sugar-free content while trying to score his second career top-five finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
“First and foremost, it’s an honor to carry them on our No. 16 Kaulig Racing car at Talladega this weekend. They’ve been a partner with Kaulig long before I came along. In fact, this is my first time actually being active with them, wearing their brand on my uniform, and having a full sponsorship on the car at the Cup level,” Hemric told Speedway Media.
“It’s cool to see them, to be able to take that next step in our partnership. Being a primary sponsor on a Cup car is a big deal for any company to take, so it’s a big deal. It’s a beautiful car. It’s gonna be special to spend time with them this weekend and hopefully, we’ll give them a good showing.”
Kaulig Racing is in its first full season at the Cup level, but the team has exemplified that its superspeedway program is up to par. Haley finished seventh at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season, and Hemric qualified third at Talladega in the spring. However, reminiscent of most teams, being there at the end of a superspeedway race is a common struggle. Hemric finished 36th in that race after an engine issue triggered a multi-car incident.
Similarly, both Haley and Hemric, the reigning Xfinity Series champion were contenders at Daytona during the regular-season finale when the pair became casualties of the infamous rain crash that took out 13 cars. Now the two teammates will try to keep their noses clean until the end of Sunday’s YellaWood 500. If all goes to plan, the Kaulig wheelmen could find themselves within the grasp of victory.
“I wouldn’t say I’m one of the few, but put me on the side of thoroughly enjoying the thrill of superspeedway racing and the chaos of not knowing what’s next. In superspeedway races, it’s a lot of the same guys [winning]. As much as people get caught up in hearing people talking about the unknown of plate racing and not being able to control your own destiny.
“A lot of the same guys win a lot of these races and that’s not by coincidence. To be able to go and hone and develop your craft to be one of those guys, that’s what I thoroughly enjoy about it. This is a big opportunity for us. I approach it the same as any other weekend, and that’s a chance to go win a race.”
In seven Cup series starts in 2022, Hemric has an average finish of 23rd.