Pit-Road Contact and Late-Race Spin Relegate Hemric to 18th-Place Finish in Kentucky

Mother Nature dictated yet another weekend's schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), canceling practice and qualifying in the series' only stop at Kentucky Speedway in 2015. Following a gear-shift issue and early pit-road contact, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Daniel Hemric and his No. 14 California Clean Power team struggled to recover. Ensuing pit-road penalties and a late-race spin put Hemric multiple laps down, ultimately resulting in a disappointing 18th-place finish.

 

After rain washed out a four-hour practice session early in the morning, NCWTS teams patiently hoped for an opportunity to get on track before the start of the UNOH 225. With constant rainfall delaying on-track activity, NASCAR officials eventually made the call to scrap qualifying and set the starting lineup by points, putting Hemric in the 11th position for the green flag. Hemric immediately found that his No. 14 California Clean Power Chevrolet was popping out of gear when the Silverado hit rough spots on the track surface, costing the young rookie several positions under green. With the addition of a loose condition, Hemric was more than ready to visit pit road when the first caution flag waved on lap 22. Hemric brought his California Clean Power machine to pit road for four tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and a bungee cord to fix the gear-shift issue. A quick stop by the crew gave Hemric track position, however, contact with another competitor while exiting caused damage to the truck's right front, forcing the 24-year-old to return to the pits for repairs. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 26, it stayed that way for only two laps. However, the short time was all Hemric needed to assess that his Silverado was now extremely tight and required more body repairs. Two stops on pit road patched up the No. 14, lining up Hemric 20th for the restart. Unfortunately, Hemric was mired behind an extremely slow truck when the green flag waved, forcing him to dive to make a pass to avoid contact. NASCAR cited Hemric for passing before the start/finish line, requiring him to do a pass-thru penalty under green. The bad luck didn't end there, as Hemric received a speeding penalty while serving his pass thru, requiring a second trip down pit road and putting the NTS Motorsports team a lap down in the 26th spot. Hemric ran for a majority of the run in the free pass position, but just before the caution flag waved on lap 45, the leader passed Hemric and put him another lap own, while also passing another truck at the end of the lead lap, taking the No. 14 out of contention as the beneficiary. Hemric and his NTS Motorsports team continued to battle, and seemed on the verge of overcoming early adversity when it once again struck. On lap 127, Hemric and another competitor touched, sending both spinning. Hemric made an impressive save, and had only slight damage and flat-spotted tires, but he was forced to make an unplanned pit stop, which further waylaid his progress. For the remaining laps, Hemric was running two laps down with few trucks to pass for position, but the NTS Motorsports team showed perseverance until the end. With five scheduled laps remaining, a dramatic multi-truck wreck sent one competitor into the outside catchfence, damaging the fence beyond quick repair. After a brief red flag, NASCAR made the decision to call the race with five laps remaining, ultimately putting Hemric in the 18th position.

 

Daniel Hemric on Kentucky Speedway

"My first experience with Kentucky Speedway has been tough for sure; we came out here to test last week and never got on track because of rain. Then, to lose out on our four-hour practice session and qualifying just really set us back. As a rookie, you want as much time as possible to get to know a new racetrack, and this place was a mystery to all of the rookies until the green flag. I think that if our NTS Motorsports team had just a little bit of track time before the race, we would have been dialed in. It only took little tweaks during the race to make our California Clean Power Chevy fast. Unfortunately, the gear issue and a little bit of contact at the beginning of the race really put us in a bad position early on, and after that, it was just an uphill battle. Next up we have Eldora, which I think everyone agrees can be a bit of a wild card. Hopefully we'll have better luck with the weather than we did this week."

NTS Motorsports PR

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Steven B. Wilson

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