Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Daniel Hemric is set to make his third and final scheduled Super Late Model start of the year Tuesday night in the Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway.
The Kannapolis, North Carolina native made his first major foray into Late Model racing with Carswell Motorsports on the Super Late Model side and Jeff Fultz in the Pro Late Models, winning the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour title in 2012 and the inaugural Southern Super Series title one year later.
Hemric will team up with Wimmer Motorsports once again for what will be his ARCA Midwest Tour debut after competing in the Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway and the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway. He joined Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring to talk about the Dixieland 250 and his career to this point.
“I mean any race you can say, I just love being in race cars and love racing,” Hemric told Speed51.com. “At Watkins Glen yesterday and you’re getting in a race car on Tuesday, that’s all you can dream about. It’s been awesome to get in as many race cars as I’ve been able to lately. Going up to Wisconsin International Raceway for the first time, I’ve seen a lot of video of the Dixieland 250 on Speed51.com, especially last year. I remember vividly as the race got pretty wild and there was a late-race restart. I’ve always wanted to run the different race tracks, it’s another place to go check off the list and hopefully Wimmer Motorsports has a car that’s good for me and we can continue our quest to try to win together, looking forward to the opportunity.”
Hemric has finished ninth and third in his two previous Super Late Model starts this year. He has enjoyed the opportunities he has had to climb back into a Late Model. From a bucket list race in the Slinger Nationals, to a race that has always felt like home in the Redbud 400, he considers it a breath of fresh air from his Cup Series obligations.
“It was kind of a breath of fresh air to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s been a rough battle there on the Cup side of things this year, so it was just fun to go back and do a little short track racing and reconnect with what got me to the level I’m at today. Going to Slinger to run the Nationals, that was a place and a race I’ve had circled on my bucket list for many, many years when I was Super Late Model racing full-time. It was good to go check that box and run the incredible venue and see how the fans pack that place, it was unbelievable.
“Then I returned to Anderson to run the Redbud 400, a race we won a couple years ago,” he continued. “It kind of felt like being back at home. There’s a lot of fans in that area of the country, it was cool to go see them. I wish we would’ve had a little bit of a better run, we were able to set the track record and have a really fast race car during the short run stuff, but I didn’t quite have enough to really do anything late in the race. We had a clutch slipping and just some small thing going on that prevented us from going to victory lane. It was cool to see Johnny VanDoorn get it done considering his situation family-wise and we’re thinking about him and his brother and his family as they went through the tough spot of losing their father. I’m ready to get back into another Late Model tomorrow.”
With a unique race track such as Wisconsin International Raceway, Hemric admits there is not much he can do to prepare for the Dixieland 250. He also mentioned the difference between racing Super Late Models in Wisconsin compared to the rest of the country.
“It’s funny, looking at an aerial view of the race track, it kind of reminded me of watching getting into turn one at like a Concord Motorsports Park,” he stated. “You get into turn one and drive up the race track. Then you pull up the aerial view and realize the exit of turns one and two are actually tighter than what it is in Concord. You try to start looking at that stuff. The biggest thing I know is that it has a ton of character with the shape of the racetrack and the D-shaped front straightaway right before the flagstand and from a rough ride standpoint. The grip isn’t that great so you have to manage your stuff. One thing that’s actually going to be interesting for myself is running a two-barrel. In that part of the country they run two-barrel carburetors on the Super Late Models. Slinger was actually my first time running one of those, it’s definitely an interesting feel.”
Tuesday night’s unique challenge has Hemric excited for his first Dixieland 250 start. With the help and support of long-time Wisconsin ace Chris Wimmer, he is confident he can end his string of Super Late Model starts with his first-career ARCA Midwest Tour win at Wisconsin International Raceway.
“Between that and getting the hang of a new racetrack in a couple practices, hopefully I’m up for the challenge but I also know Chris Wimmer and Wimmer Motorsports have been there many times and had success,” he said. “Looking forward to getting there and giving it a shot.”
Race fans unable to make it to the trick Kaukauna, Wisconsin oval Tuesday night will be able to watch the race via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images