Flat Tire Deflates Hemric's Chance of a Win in Texas Debut, Relegates to Ninth-Place Finish
After earning a ninth-place starting spot in the final round of knockout qualifying, Hemric's Chevrolet Silverado fired off fast for the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400, allowing the Rookie of the Year contender to maintain his position until the first caution flag waved on lap 21. Reporting that his truck was beginning to slide the nose, crew chief Ryan McKinney called Hemric down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. A fast stop earned the team a spot on pit road, putting Hemric eighth when the green flag waved on lap 25. A strong restart allowed Hemric to jump into the sixth position quickly, and he held that spot until the time came for green-flag pit stops. Hemric stated that the California Clean Power machine maintained its balanced handling longer that run, and when he pulled down pit road on lap 69, McKinney once again called for fresh tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. Once green-flag pit stops cycled through, Hemric had cracked the top five, and when the field slowed for a yellow flag on lap 83, the young driver was pleased with his handling and remained on track. The pit strategy earned Hemric an additional spot, lining him up fourth for the lap-87 green flag. An extremely good restart allowed Hemric to challenge for second place in the opening laps of the run, with the No. 14 ultimately settling into the third position. Still in third, the team made another green-flag pit stop on lap 122, tweaking the truck with just a minor wedge adjustment in addition to fresh Goodyears and fuel. As the run progressed, so did the No. 14 team's speed, and Hemric was consistently running the fastest laps on the racetrack from the third position when the caution came out on lap 149. With a final scheduled pit stop, the NTS Motorsports team did not need to make any additional adjustments, simply providing Hemric with four tires and fuel. After restarting in the third position, Hemric was in a tight battle with both the second and fourth-place trucks, dropping to the fourth spot briefly. The 24-year-old was about to make a pass back into the third position when the left-rear tire suddenly went down, causing the No. 14 to bobble and eventually spin, bringing out the final caution flag of the night on lap 162. Hemric ducked to pit road for left-side tires and some minor body work to ensure fender clearance, and the NTS crew kept their driver on the lead lap, lining him up 10th for a green/white/checkered finish. In the closing laps, Hemric was able to gain one final spot, ultimately crossing the finish line in the ninth position.
Daniel Hemric on Texas Motor Speedway
"That wasn't the way we wanted the race to end, but all in all, today was the best we've run all year. My NTS Motorsports team built me a truck that was really fast; I was able to get good restarts and do a lot of passing. If we hadn't had that tire go down at the end, I have no doubt that we'd be looking at a second or third-place finish, possibly even a win, depending on how it all played out. I'm just really proud of our guys; we had a really fast California Clean Power Chevy and I know we can build on this finish. We qualified well and continued to get better and better during the race, and we continue to have really great pit stops. At the end, we just got a lot more travel in the rear than we had all race and got a left-rear fender rub. It's not really something you can predict; everyone is going as hard as they can at the end. The air pressure came up and I thought we were going to be fine, but the left-rear tire hit the body and cut it down down. Overall, I'm really happy with the direction that this program is going and I'm looking forward to going to Gateway [Motorsports Park] next week."
NTS Motorsports PR
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