Through the first 13 races of 2019, Daniel Hemric had been chasing Ryan Preece for the lead of the NASCAR Rookie of the Year point standings. However, after a solid 13th-place finish at Pocono, Hemric now takes over the lead.
Hemric started the day from the 23rd position in one of the more unique paint schemes on the grid — the splashy Kalahari Resorts car.
Hemric struggled for the majority of the race with an ill-handling car, but the 28-year old did not relent.
He kept his nose clean through the whole event, and finally his car was tuned to the point where he felt he could make some moves.
“In the race the car took off too loose on corner entry to attack. I thought we would never get that connected to make some decent lap times,” Hemric explained. “As soon as Luke Lambert and this team were able to make some adjustments to this No. 8 Kalahari Chevrolet, we were able to do that and made forward progress.”
Hemric stayed on the lead lap as he climbed through the field which put himself in a position to pull off some strategy in the closing laps of the Pocono 400.
“Staying out long on the next-to-last run and pitting late for right side tires and fuel gave us a huge amount of track position and made our lap times much better than the cars around us,” Hemric explained. “The clean air helped us get track position as well.”
On the final run of the day, it looked like Hemric would end up with a top-10, but ultimately he faded slightly. However, he was still able to hammer out a 13th-place finish — his second best finish of the season.
“I wish we could have maintained in the top 10 over the course of that last restart, but it just didn’t work out,” Hemric said. “We’ll go to work, build off this momentum and look to have another strong day next week in Michigan.”
As he heads to Michigan, Hemric now holds a four-point advantage over Preece in the chase for the Rookie of the Year title.