2021 Season in Review: Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric
CREW CHIEF: Dave Rogers
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POINTS: 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion
WINS: One (Phoenix II)
LAPS LED: 663
TOP 5s: 15
TOP 10s: 21
QUALIFIED FIRST: Four times (Phoenix I, Dover, Darlington II, Kansas)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Consistency is Daniel Hemric’s bread and butter; it’s what’s his NASCAR career has been built on. Such was the case again this season. Hemric kept getting solid results and largely avoided the bad ones (a mere two DNFs). Statistically, his 663 laps led were second only to Austin Cindric, and he was third behind only Cindric and Justin Allgaier in both average running position (8.5) and laps inside the Top 15 (89.2%).
His first two Xfinity Championship 4 appearances at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2017-18, with Richard Childress Racing) ended in disappointment. But the third time was the charm for him at Phoenix Raceway.
A caution with 20 laps to go gave him a chance to battle Cindric for the win and the title. Two more cautions sent the race to overtime, and on the final lap, Hemric made contact with Cindric coming to the checkered flag before beating him to the line.
In his 208th NASCAR national series start, Hemric finally became a winner - and a champion to boot.
WHAT WENT WRONG: All’s well that ended well with Hemric, but he had some frustrating moments before his ultimate triumph. Outside of three runner-up finishes (Las Vegas I, Road America, Texas II), there were several other near-misses.
Among them: He had a chance to win the spring race at Phoenix in overtime until contact with another car put him in the wall (he finished 23rd); he led a race-high 105 laps in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway before being taken out in a restart crash with 14 laps to go; and in July at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a bump from Kyle Busch on a restart with six laps to go sent him out of the lead and into the wall (Busch went on to win in overtime; Hemric finished 30th).
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022: Hemric will seek to defend his Xfinity Series title with a new team: Kaulig Racing. As Justin Haley moves to Kaulig’s Cup Series program full-time, Hemric will replace him in their No. 11 Xfinity Series entry. Additionally, Hemric will run a part-time Cup schedule in Kaulig’s No. 16 entry, which he’ll share with AJ Allmendinger and Noah Gragson. It will be Hemric’s first Cup action since 2019, when he won series rookie of the year honors with Richard Childress Racing.