If he had a chance, Daniel Hemric felt he could take the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship from JR Motorsports.
For the first 45 laps of the race, this young rookie was doing just that.
Entering the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway as the “underdog” against the series’ most successful team, Hemric surged to sixth in Stage 1 of the finale. His Richard Childress Racing machine was holding its own against three JR Motorsports rivals.
But just as critics were coming around, bad luck reared its ugly head on lap 61. Hemric was forced to pit after losing voltage in his No. 21. As the seconds ticked away, his hood up the driver knew his title hopes were ruined.
“It happened pretty quick,” Hemric said. “As we were doing our first pit stop, volts started coming down and eventually — when it gets to a point, it drains the battery and we had to pit.
“We lost 12 laps by the whole exchange and that was pretty much the end of our day. I tried to run the rest of the laps because it wasn’t going to do nobody any good giving up at that point.”
The mechanical problem ended Hemric’s rookie season with a 34th-place finish. But he leaves Miami fourth in the championship and a lesson learned for 2018, his second year with RCR.
“I’m proud of the effort, proud of what we did this whole year,” he said. “When people counted us out, we figured out a way to show them we deserve to be here. We did our jobs and I feel those guys knew we were here to race if we didn’t have any issues. But in this deal, you have to be perfect.
“Today just wasn’t meant to be, but I look forward to coming back next year much stronger and better than ever.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be … not ideal by any means, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Just proud of the effort. We never gave up, that’s why we ran all of the laps,” @DanielHemric. pic.twitter.com/v0Lt7WLexB
— RCR Museum & Team Store (@RCR_Museum) November 18, 2017