Daniel Hemric (@DanielHemric) was in contention for the win until the final lap of the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225, battling rookie William Byron in the first race on the newly-repaved surface at Kentucky Speedway.
Hemric was in hot pursuit of his first-career win, running second for much of the final 50 laps, nipping at the heels of the leader in three-way barn burner of a finish, ultimately finishing third in the No. 19 Oakmont Management Group Ford F-150.
After qualifying in the fourth position, Hemric gained one position in the opening 15 laps, and although he initially reported that his F-150 was a tick free in Turns 1 and 2, he soon found that he was a bit tight center and exit in both turns. When the first caution flag waved on lap 27, crew chief Chad Kendrick called his driver down pit road for right-side tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment.
Restarting fourth on lap 36, Hemric was still in the fourth spot when a multi-truck accident brought out the yellow flag on lap 47. As the two trucks were wrecking behind him, Hemric brushed the wall, causing minor damage to the right-rear quarter panel.
The young driver returned to pit road, and this time his Brad Keselowski Racing team opted for four tires, fuel and another track-bar adjustment.
With many trucks opting to take just two tires, Hemric restarted 19th when racing resumed on lap 56. By the time the final caution flag waved on lap 105, Hemric had advanced up to the 10th spot, and his BKR crew prepared for the final pit stop of the night. Kendrick called for two tires and fuel, and the strategy put the No. 19 Oakmont Management Group Ford in the second position for the restart on lap 109.
In the closing 42 laps, Hemric waged war on the leader, closing the gap between them and attempting to pass for the lead. At the same time, Hemric was fighting off the third-place truck behind him.
With only a handful of laps remaining, Hemric was passed for the second position, and the three trucks continued to battle each other before the Kannapolis native took the checkered flag in the third position, tying his career-best finish and entering a tie for third place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship standings.