Hemric Attributes Success to Family, Keselowski
Without support from his family and boss, Daniel Hemric wouldn’t be scaling the Camping World Truck Series standings.
The driver of the No. 19 for Brad Keselowski Racing is third in points, with leader William Byron 17 points ahead. Hemric recently attempted to chase down Byron at Kentucky Speedway, but the search for his first NASCAR win came up short, and the driver credited the No. 9 truck’s strength as the reason.
“Ultimately, I ran out of laps. At the end of the day, he did a great job of going where he needed to keep me behind him,” Hemric told POPULAR SPEED. “You have a lot of anticipation building as the laps wind down, and just knowing that one mistake can change the outcome of the race. It just didn’t work out that way for us.”
Although the finish wasn’t what Hemric wanted, team owner Brad Keselowski was proud of his driver and boasted about him during his Friday media availability. Amidst the praise, Keselowski stated that Hemric would be an even better Sprint Cup driver.
The young driver is thankful for his owner and the compliments.
“No matter what you’re doing for work, you want the boss on your side, and I have all the faith in the world that Brad’s on my side,” Hemric said. “He really pulls for myself and Tyler and wants us to be the best we can be. Having his support system and being able to lean on him as we go to different racetracks every weekend is something you can’t put a price on.”
Hemric has surrounded himself with strong individuals throughout his career. The group that helped him begin racing Late Models in his younger years was no exception, as his family members helped give shape to his dream and conquer the unknowns. Those unknowns were abundant during his first season.
“We didn’t know our way around the racetrack, what tools and equipment we needed to bring and what not. Then, once you start to acquire those things, you realize how big of an expense racing really is and what it takes to be good at it. I wouldn’t change that experience because it helped build my career, and we did it with family along the way.”
The hard work paid off late last year when Hemric inked his deal with BKR. For the first time in his NASCAR career, he didn’t spend the winter months fretting over finding a ride or paying the bills. It was a huge weight off his shoulders – and it made all the previous struggles worth it.
“It makes that little off-time very precious, because you can enjoy the time and focus on the things that are important in the winter months – and that’s family and friends. Knowing that the business side and the personal side are completely separate is nice,” he said.
He strengthened his support system over the off-season as well. Hemric proposed to long-time girlfriend and fellow racecar driver Kenzie Ruston while on vacation. Her experience with racing – and going through her own ups and downs – makes her encouragement even more meaningful.
“I would say this wouldn’t be possible without her support,” Hemric said. “She’s as intently involved in the sport as I am. She’s had a first-row seat to the whole experience. I can lean on her during the days of disappointment and really jump up and down and praise the days that go like you want them to. We’ve both been at both ends of the spectrum, and I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side.”
The BKR driver feels confident about the upcoming race at Eldora Speedway, saying his team is strong “no matter if it’s dirt or asphalt, big tracks or small tracks.” Hemric found success there last season with a fifth-place finish and hopes to manage the wild card track with ease. Every race counts as the Chase sits right around the corner, but he isn’t panicked. His Late Model experience prepped him for the hard-nosed racing required to make the Chase field.
“I feel like for the veterans who have been points racing – the Matt Craftons and Johnny Sauters – how they have approached the season may have changed,” he said. “With me growing up Late Model racing and whatnot, the approaches are different from that aspect. You might find yourself being more aggressive on restarts or pushing the envelope in certain areas you usually wouldn’t in the past.”
If it weren’t for Hemric’s family, team and boss, he would not be in the position to compete with the Craftons and Sauters. That support system helped him climb the NASCAR ladder and transform into a threat for the 2016 CWTS championship. Their sacrifices and encouragement make him cherish his current success.
“Having family help me is what ultimately makes it so special to be at the point I am now.”
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