Daniel Hemric’s first NASCAR win came at a very opportune time.
Hemric passed Austin Cindric just before the finish line to get the 2021 Xfinity Series title in a door-banging finish at Phoenix on Saturday night.
Hemric, 30, entered Saturday night’s race with 207 career starts in NASCAR’s Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series without a win. He had finished second 10 times in the Xfinity Series and looked set to make it 11 as he slid in behind Cindric on the final lap.
But he drove underneath Cindric in the final two corners and finally grabbed that checkered flag by a few feet.
After racing two full seasons for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series and finishing in the top seven in points in each of those seasons, Hemric moved up to the Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing in 2017. He made the final four in each of his two Xfinity seasons with Childress despite not getting a win.
A win has always felt like it was inches away from Hemric’s grasp and would happen at some point. He moved up to the Cup Series with RCR in 2019 and had a forgettable season. He was 25th in the points standings and had just one top five and two top 10s.
Tyler Reddick, the man who replaced Hemric in the Xfinity Series at RCR, won the 2019 Xfinity Series title. The team moved him up to the Cup Series and Hemric was left without a full-time ride.
After racing part-time in the Xfinity Series in 2020, Hemric scored a ride at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021. He finishes the season with 15 top-five finishes and 21 top 10s. And it’s his only season with the team. He’s moving on to Kaulig Racing in 2022.