Richard Childress Racing team president Torrey Galida said he was happy to end six months of speculation about Daniel Hemric’s future with a press conference Friday afternoon naming him to the No. 31 Chevrolet next season.
Hemric will move into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after two full seasons in the Xfinity Series for RCR. Hemric made the Championship 4 last season and led the race at one point before a battery issue eliminated him from contention. He is again in the middle of the playoff battle this season.
“I’m really proud of this day,” said Childress. “I’ve been watching Daniel since he was a young boy over here. I called him ‘boy’ back in the day — him, Austin and Ty [Dillon] were all racing Bandoleros, Legends, and I saw then the talent that Daniel had. Austin and Ty both have been for years trying to get him to drive for us, and to get him on the Xfinity cars and to see his talent and to now be able to make the largest move on his career and put him in a Cup car.
“I think back to other drivers like Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Ty. These are the drivers that I look at their talent when they were very young and was fortunate to put them in cars and be able to go out and win races and do what they do best. I think Daniel falls right into that line with those guys because he has all the talent it takes to win. He will be a winner. He will be racing for championships in the Cup Series in the future. So, Daniel, couldn’t be prouder of you buddy, to have you here.”
Sponsorship was not announced for Hemric. In a statement accompanying the announcement, RCR said sponsorship and other details will be revealed later. Galida said “we have Caterpillar” and he is also confident most of the partners on the car will be back. Other partners might also be slotted in.
Childress also admitted Hemric is slated to drive the No. 31 but there have been discussions about possibly changing the number to the 8. Hemric is driving the No. 8 this weekend in his second career Cup Series start on the Charlotte road course. He also drove it in his debut earlier this year at Richmond Raceway.
“It’s unbelievable how starting here so many years ago has led to this point,” said Hemric. “It’s going to be an honor to continue down this path, hopefully, for the next couple of years. I’m just incredibly humbled and honored to know all those nights and all those …” overcome with emotion at this point, Hemric had to pause.
“That’s what it’s all about, right?” he turned and said to Childress.
A native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Hemric got his start in go-karts, Bandoleros, Legend Cars and late models. Successful at every level, Hemric also cut his teeth on the frontstretch quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway, even winning the Legends Million race, where he collected the largest purse in Legend Car racing. Hemric is also a Southern Super Series champion in pro late models.
In the NASCAR national series, Hemric drove for Bob Newberry in 2015 and then Brad Keselowski’s team in 2016. Both seasons Hemric finished top 10 in the championship standings. In 60 career Xfinity Series starts, to date, Hemric has three poles and 33 top-10 finishes.
“Ever since I was a kid growing up in Kannapolis, I followed and rooted for RCR,” said Hemric. “I enjoyed competing against Austin and Ty years ago and we became close friends along the way. My dream has always been to race for championships in the NASCAR Cup Series. I have worked hard to get here and those who know me and have supported me, know I take nothing for granted.
“The time has come to take that next step, and I want to thank Richard for believing in me and providing such an amazing opportunity. I also look forward to working together closely with Austin and the No. 3 team during the 2019 season.”