Earlier this month it was announced that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Hemric would join Wimmer Motorsports for the Redbud 400 in July. That one race now has turned into a three-event partnership. Hemric will partner with the Wausau, Wisconsin-based race team for a total of three marquee Super Late Model events during the 2019 season.
“Obviously anytime you have someone of Daniel’s stature want to get in one of your race cars it’s extremely flattering,” said Wimmer Motorsports team operator and crew chief Chris Wimmer. “The Hemrics have been friends of ours for a long time and the idea had been tossed around over the past few years, but to have it all come together and to have Daniel drive for us for some of the biggest Super Late Model races is truly exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”
“I’ve wanted to do some Late Model racing the last couple of years but couldn’t really figure it out in terms of balancing my schedule,” Hemric said. “Timing wise, everything just came together. The opportunities and the schedule - there are a couple premier races I’ve wanted to check off my list and we’re going to be able to do that, as well as get back to one (Redbud) where I’ve had some success in the past.”
Along with a trip back to Anderson Speedway for the Redbud 400 on July 15, Hemric will make his debut for Wimmer Motorsports at the Slinger Super Speedway Slinger Nationals on July 9 and will return for the Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway on August 6.
“Slinger and Dixieland are some of the best short track races and have been won by some of the best drivers in the sport,” Hemric stated. “I’ve never raced Late Models in Wisconsin and they have a rich history and it will be good to go toe-to-toe with some of those guys. We’ve won the Redbud and had success at Anderson before, too. It’s a great track that produces unbelievable racing.”
The North Carolina driver won the Redbud 400 in 2014, but has never seen the high banks of Slinger Speedway nor the tricky dogleg at Wisconsin International Speedway.
On the flip side, Wimmer is a former Slinger Nationals winner and helped crew chief 2018 Dixieland 250 winner Chase Purdy with Anthony Campi Racing in 2018.
“Anytime you return to a track where you’ve had success, you feel confident in what you need to be fast,” Hemric said. “That said, a lot has changed in the Late Model game since I’ve been a regular in 2014. As far as Slinger and Kaukauna, the Nationals has some of the tightest fields with some of the best drivers, all trying to win one of the biggest shows in the sport. I followed the Dixieland online the last couple of years and have seen a lot of quality guys try and win that race. There will certainly be a learning curve there. Hopefully we can get up to speed quickly and have a chance to contend for the win.”
“I think between the two of us and our experiences and knowledge we’ll be okay," Wimmer said. “The Slinger Nationals has always been special to me and I’m excited to have Daniel in our car there. I have a lot of experience at the Wisconsin tracks and with Daniel’s abilities it shouldn’t take long to get the new tracks for him figured out.”
While the goal is obviously to win, Hemric said that more than that he wants to reconnect with his roots and is looking forward to checking off two historic tracks and events in the process. With the Wisconsin connection and the resume of Wimmer Motorsports, plus the success of the FURY Super Late Model chassis that Wimmer Motorsports has prepared, he feels that this is the right choice when deciding who to partner with to get back into a Late Model.
“I remember driving Fury-style race cars at a test with Jeff Fultz years ago, near the beginning of the design work on the car. I’ve never had that chance to race one,” Hemric said. “Fultz, the Eurys from FURY and the Wimmers have been close family friends, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to put it all together and race with Chris and his family.
“Near the end of my late model tenure, I got to see first-hand Chris Wimmer’s work ethic and the quality of work that his group brought to the track each week. Being so hands-on in my career in Late Models, it’s hard for me to commit to do something without being able to be so involved. I needed to trust someone that they would do everything that I would do, and I trust Chris to be that guy. I’ve seen that through what they’ve done for Harrison (Burton) and FURY race cars over the years.”
-Story by: Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images for NASCAR