During a quarter of Monday’s (Sep. 10) Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daniel Hemric was on his way to career win No. 1 in the XFINITY Series.
Leading 25 of the 100 laps on the rain-postponed event, Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was among the powerhouses in a race that brought back the aero-duct package in 2018.
Starting eighth, Hemric grabbed the lead in stage two, leading the most consecutive laps of the afternoon from there before losing the position under caution.
That’s when it started to change.
“Once the end of the race cycled through, we became equal,” Hemric said. “We all ran the same speed. I wish we could have formed bigger runs. I hate that I couldn’t keep track position. It made it that much harder.”
Falling outside the top 10 on a late restart, a top five was the goal for the No. 21. Hemric was happy to score a 12th top five in 2018.
“I feel we’ve run top five in 70 percent of the races [in 2018],” he said. “Once we get into the playoffs we have to find out how to take that next step as a group. The good thing is we’re consistent and those things will take you a long way but not far enough.
Given the difficulty to develop runs in this package, Hemric was pleased of his comeback to fifth spot.
“If you were buffered back in fourth, staggered between a car length, that’s when everyone became equal,” he said. “When everyone was able to run a ton of throttle. The only time you really made passes is when someone had to crack the gas and it just so happened you had help behind you.
“It makes for a bigger pack and more passes for the lead. Some things I think it needs to accomplish, I think it needs some work.”
Earning five of the top six spots, Chevrolet also led every lap Monday, showcasing improvement, said Hemric.
“Hats off to Chevrolet. They’re giving us all the tools we need to be better everywhere we go,” he said. “As a motor program at ECR, we took a step in the right direction with this package.”
— RCR (@RCRracing) September 10, 2018