Hemric Takes First Cup Series Pole In Kansas

Hemric Takes First Cup
Daniel Hemric sped to the pole in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Saturday at Kansas Speedway. (HHP/Jim Fluharty photo)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Daniel Hemric secured his first Busch Pole Award in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with a scorching lap during qualifying Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

Hemric, driving the No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet, timed in at 30.329 seconds (178.047 mph) around the 1.5-mile oval to earn the top spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

The effort was one that not only surprised many fans in attendance, but also surprised the driver himself.

“This is pretty special. I kind of just feel crazy,” admitted Hemric. “I got out of the car and I thought I’d be maybe fifth to eighth but man, these guys on this Caterpillar Camaro ZL1 have done a great job all year of no matter what’s thrown at us, kind of just rising to the occasion and showing back up at the race track every week ready to work.

“With all that going on, there’s so much going on around us that you can get lost in the distraction of things, but to know these guys have continued to have my back through all that stuff has meant the world to me, Hemric continued. “ECR and RCR have been doing a great job all year and it’s cool to be the guy to steer it around the line there and get the quick time.”

Hemric will be joined on the front row Sunday by David Ragan, who timed in second-quickest with a lap of 30.364 seconds (177.842 mph) with the No. 38 MDS Ford.

Ragan is retiring from full-time Cup Series competition at the end of the season.

Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski will share the second row of the grid, followed by Kyle Larson in fifth. Blaney and Larson are locked into the Round of 8 in the Cup Series playoffs by virtue of their wins in the last two Cup Series races.

Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10 on the grid Saturday afternoon.

Only three of the 12 remaining playoff drivers will start inside the first five rows on Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr. rolls off 11th, while Chase Elliott starts 14th and Alex Bowman qualified 16th. Former Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is on the outside of the ninth row in 18th.

Playoff drivers who qualified outside the top 20 include Clint Bowyer (21st), Denny Hamlin (23rd), William Byron (25th) and Joey Logano (29th).

Kevin Harvick, the 2014 Cup Series champion, saw his car fail pre-qualifying inspection three times on Saturday. As a result, car chief Robert Smith was ejected for the weekend and Harvick was not permitted to qualify. He will roll off last – 40th – for Sunday’s race.

The full starting lineup can be found below.

STARTING LINEUP: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Kansas Speedway; Oct. 19, 2019

  1. Daniel Hemric
  2. David Ragan
  3. Ryan Blaney
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Kyle Larson
  6. Michael McDowell
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Daniel Suarez
  9. Austin Dillon
  10. Bubba Wallace
  11. Martin Truex Jr.
  12. Jimmie Johnson
  13. Aric Almirola
  14. Chase Elliott
  15. Kurt Busch
  16. Alex Bowman
  17. Matt Tifft
  18. Kyle Busch
  19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  20. Erik Jones
  21. Clint Bowyer
  22. Paul Menard
  23. Denny Hamlin
  24. Ty Dillon
  25. William Byron
  26. Chris Buescher
  27. Matt DiBenedetto
  28. Ryan Preece
  29. Joey Logano
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Corey LaJoie
  32. Parker Kligerman
  33. Ross Chastain
  34. Reed Sorenson
  35. Garrett Smithley
  36. J.J. Yeley
  37. Josh Bilicki
  38. Timmy Hill
  39. Joey Gase
  40. Kevin Harvick