CONCORD, N.C. – Richard Childress Racing confirmed Friday afternoon that Daniel Hemric will move up to drive the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 full time next season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Hemric has driven for RCR in the NASCAR Xfinity Series the last two seasons, making the playoffs both years and advancing all the way to the final four as a rookie in 2017. He currently ranks second in Xfinity Series points to Christopher Bell, despite remaining winless to this point.
The Kannapolis, N.C., native will take the reins of the No. 31 from Ryan Newman, who will depart RCR for Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season.
“We’ve had our eye on Daniel since he raced with Austin (Dillon) and Ty (Dillon) in Bandolero cars and then into Legends racing,” said team owner Richard Childress. “We hired him to drive our No. 21 Xfinity entry in 2017 and our plan was to develop him and move him up to the Cup Series when the time was right. We believe that time is now.
“He’s had another strong year in 2018 and will represent RCR well in the Cup Series along with several iconic brands, including Caterpillar and Chevrolet.”
Hemric graduated all the way through the short-track ranks prior to reaching NASCAR’s national stage. He started in go-karts at the age of five and had earned a Concord Speedway track championship by the age of 11.
He later earned three Legends car Pro division championships (2008, 2013-14) at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bojangles’ Summer Shootout, mastering the quarter-mile frontstretch oval at the facility and racking up a series-high 25 victories in the premier class of the discipline.
Hemric also earned late model championships with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour (2012) and the Southern Super Series (2013) before moving into the NASCAR ranks with Brad Keselowski Racing in 2015. He earned 15 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes in two full seasons with BKR, finishing in the top seven in points both years.
Impressive performances in the Truck Series led Hemric to RCR at the start of the 2016 season, where he immediately impressed in the Xfinity Series en route to a shot at the championship at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway during his rookie campaign. Hemric finished fourth in points that year.
Though he hasn’t yet won in the Xfinity Series, Hemric has 20 top fives and 33 top 10s – along with three poles – in just 60 starts and has the potential to cap his full time tenure there with a title this season.
In regards to moving to the Cup Series, Hemric was visibly emotional during Friday’s press conference announcing his promotion, nearly breaking down into tears at two points as he made his early remarks.
“It’s unbelievable to see how starting here at Charlotte years ago has all led to this moment,” Hemric said. “It’s truly an honor to continue down this path and get this shot. I’m incredibly humbled and honored to know that all those nights and all the effort it took to get here has finally paid off.
“So many people work their whole lives for a chance like this, and to be able to sit up here and be a testament to what this sport was built on – families doing whatever they could to give their kids a shot – that’s what it’s all about, in my eyes. To be a part of this race team, this family, means everything.”
Hemric, who hails from the same hometown as legendary RCR driver Dale Earnhardt, hopes he can bring RCR some of the same successes as the driver he ranks as one of his racing heroes.
“Ever since I was a kid growing up in Kannapolis, I followed and rooted for RCR,” said Hemric. “I enjoyed competing against Austin and Ty years ago and we became close friends along the way. My dream has always been to race for championships in the NASCAR Cup Series. I have worked hard to get here, and those who know me and have supported me know I take nothing for granted.
“The time has come to take that next step, and I want to thank Richard for believing in me and providing such an amazing opportunity. It’s a dream come true, it really is.”