PENSACOLA, Fla. – It wasn’t quite the way he scripted it, but Daniel Hemric is officially a Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco winner.
Hemric finished behind Augie Grill in Friday night’s Pepsi Max 125 presented by Penske Shocks at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway, but Grill was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for unapproved fuel. That gave Hemric, of Kannapolis, N.C., his first Southern Super Series victory and the first for his Carswell Motorsports team.
“Nobody likes to win races like that, but this place is known for some wild things to happen this year,” said Hemric. Last time we were here, Bubba (Pollard) dominated the race and got taken out by a lapped car and T.J. Reaid won. T.J. put himself in position to win that night and we put ourselves in position by working hard week in and week out. Our hard work got us second, but with the tech stuff with Augie, it gave us the win.”
Hemric followed Grill throughout the final 50-lap sprint to the checkered flag following a lap-75 competition caution. He also had to hold off series point leader Bubba Pollard, who had changed a transmission during the 10-minute break at lap 75, to be in position to inherit the win.
Pollard, who was credited with second following Grill’s disqualification, was admittedly frustrated with not having a chance to win this time out.
“There’s no sugar coating it, I’m ticked off,” said Pollard. “We need to run better. We should be winning these races. We shouldn’t be letting Augie win all the races. We take it how it goes. We were tight tonight and we were fortunate to get the transmission changed at the break. It helps us in the points to not get into a deficit, but we need to be better than that.”
John Hunter Nemechek, who led 42 laps in the middle stages of the 125-lap feature, scored a third-place finish in an experience-building effort.
“We had a real good racecar the first half,” said Nemechek. “I was looking forward to the second half and battling with Augie at the end. It’s too bad it didn’t work out that way. It’s all a learning experience for us right now. We don’t have the notebook that a lot of guys have, but we’re trying to build that up. We’re learning the hard way, but at least we’re learning.”
Mike Garvey, of Pensacola, Fla., finished fourth, while Texan Casey Smith rounded out the top five.