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NASCAR Xfinity: Daniel Hemric’s first win leads to championship

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 06: Daniel Hemric, driver of the #18 Poppy Bank Toyota, celebrates after winning the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 06, 2021 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Daniel Hemric’s 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway got off to a bumpy start Friday when an issue with the team’s car hauler had a problem that caused a delay in getting the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the track. But the weekend that got off to a not-so-great start ended in the best possible way. After second-place finishes galore throughout his Xfinity career, series start 120 on Saturday night finally produced a first win for Hemric. And that win couldn’t come at a better time for the diver, as it also garnered a first Xfinity Series championship for Hemric.

“Unbelievable,” Hemric said. “These guys right here have asked me all year how bad do you want it? We gave away one here in the spring. I felt like we had to give one up last week to get here. We were not going to be denied. Thank you Dave Rogers (crew chief). Bill and Cindy Gallaher. Everyone at Poppy Bank. Will Gallaher. They took a chance on me in 2015 in some form or fashion. They stuck with me through times they probably shouldn’t have to be honest with you. I’ve been waiting a long damn time to do that. Thank you Joe Gibbs, everyone at TRD, Toyota, Bell Helmets, everyone here that makes this program what it is. People doubted me. I would do it all over again for a night like this.”

Hemric waged a physical battle with reigning Xfinity Series champion and then-race leader Austin Cindric in the final two green-flag laps that followed an overtime restart to take the lead and win. Cindric finished second to claim the. Xfinity Series owners’ championship for Team Penske, as Hemric’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team didn’t make the championship four for the owners’ title.

“If everyone in the stands enjoyed it, it’s good racing,” Cindric said. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to race on such a big stage. The opportunity to race for Roger Penske and represent Ford Performance, our companies and all of our sponsors that have helped us this season. It would have been awesome to finish this out. I felt like we had a dominant race car. I felt like we did everything right. Come up a little bit short (for the drivers’ title). Sometimes it’s like that way. Unfortunately, at the end of both seasonal championships this year I’m getting, obviously, moved out of the way and doored, but that’s hard racing. That’s why everyone enjoys watching this series. It’s because there’s a lot on the line. I’m thankful for the opportunity and pissed to be second for, like, the third week in a row.”

Harrison Burton finished third after starting the race in the back. Riley Herbst finished fourth, and Justin Haley was fifth.

Cindric and Hemric were the two stage winners. Cindric’s race-high 113 laps-led included a stage-one win on lap 45. Hemric led 48 laps and won stage two at lap 90.

The only other driver who led more than three laps was John Hunter Nemecheck, who led 39 laps on his way to a sixth-place finish.

Hemric and Cindric’s competition for the 2021 Xfinity championship, Noah Gragson and A.J. Allmendinger wound up outside the top-10 at the checkered flag. Gragson finished 12th after getting into the wall on a lap-193 restart. Allmendinger wound up 14th after a spin that resulted in the eighth of 10 cautions on lap 181.

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Posted by on November 7, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,Xfinity Series. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.