RICHMOND, Va.—When Richard Childress Racing announced Tuesday a different direction for the No. 8 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next season, driver Daniel Hemric admits he wasn’t surprised.
Hemric would have had to have been under a rock not to hear the rumblings—or the vote of confidence from team owner Childress—for Xfinity Series standout and defending champion Tyler Reddick to move up to NASCAR’s top tour. That meant no more room in the RCR car for Hemric when next season rolls around.
Still, that doesn’t make rejection any easier for Hemric.
“That’s the decision they made, and we are all going to live with it and move on,” Hemric said. “Obviously, RCR was as professional as they could be about getting me enough time to understand and process what was going on. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was shocked, but on the other side of it, I was hoping we could continue to build on what we have done over the past six months.
“Really with this package and what not, we know as a whole we weren’t where we wanted to be. But we also know as a whole at RCR, we’ve made huge strides. That part of it was a little disappointed that we won’t be able to continue that deal and be a part of that process, but things happen, life happens, the sun comes up the next day and you try again. That’s where I’m at this weekend.”
Hemric knows the stats don’t lie. The 28-year-old from Kannapolis, N.C., has yet to win in any of NASCAR’s top four tours but still advanced from the K&N Pro Series through trucks, Xfinity and this year to Cup, where he’s currently 25th in the standings. The Cup rookie has led 15 laps, scored one top five at Talladega and finished seventh at Pocono in July. The last two months have been brutal. Hemric has wrecked three times in the last eight races.
“I feel every night I laid my head down, I knew I did everything I could do,” Hemric said. “I’ve always said that if you do that, that’s all you can do in life. No matter what it is, driving a race car, being a father, husband, parent, whatever it is. If you lay your head down and you know you gave it everything you have, then that’s what allows you to sleep at night.
“Have I lost the ability to sleep over the last week? Of course, you’re scrambling. You’re the guy people lean on; not only for your wife, but the people you employee and what not. That’s one thing, but from the success side of it, I haven’t lost a wink of sleep. I know I’ve done everything I’ve done, and moving forward, that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
Despite the struggles Hemric has endured in Cup, his veteran RCR teammate Austin Dillon—as well as Ty Dillon and Bubba Wallace from technical alliances with Germain Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports, respectively—are not performing significantly better. Hemric still believes he can make a contribution wherever he lands.
“Everybody in here knows what I’ve been driving over the last four to five years,” Hemric said. “You’ll never one time find a program where I’ve jumped in and they’ve won five or six races the year before. Because of that, that’s why I say that I take pride in building the program up. I think when you start comparing numbers, you’re exactly right. I don’t think there is much more I could have done on this side to change the outcome, but with that being said, maybe it is time to rebuild the stock. Maybe go back Trucking racing or Xfinity racing, or whatever the next opportunity is, to build that stock and show I can win.
“I’ve won in every single level that I ever ran full-time in on my way up the ladder. Everybody knows I’m not cocky, and I’m not going to sit here and brag about that. In the grand scheme of things, I know if I’m in winning stuff, I’m going to win races, and I don’t care what level it’s at. That’s what gives me the desire to keep going.”