richard childress racing

Daniel Hemric gets unexpected introduction to Cup car at Charlotte road course test (video)

Leave a comment

Being a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, a lot of Daniel Hemric‘s racing firsts are connected to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 26-year-old Xfinity Series driver got another one this week when an unexpected call shortened a vacation to Mexico and put him in a Cup car for the first time.

Hemric, who drives Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet in his rookie season, was visiting the country as part of a birthday vacation for his wife, Kenzie.

“As soon as the wheels touched down I got a call from some guys a RCR asking ‘Hey, would you mind driving a Cup car Tuesday at a test?'” Hemric said Wednesday.

“Do I need to fly home right now or what?” Hemric responded.

Come Tuesday morning, Hemric was sitting in the cockpit of Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet as one of four drivers taking part in the first Goodyear tire test on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, a 2.42-mile, 18-turn circuit made up of most of the original 1.5-mile track and the infield road course.

MORE: Cup drivers share thoughts on Charlotte road course

The two-day test could give Hemric a step up on his Xfinity competition as the series also will run on the road course next year.

“The first two or three runs was about getting me acclimated (to the car) but since then I think we’ve done a good job of communicating with Goodyear and trying to figure what we need to be able to make sure fans will be able to see racing and side-by-side racing and a lot of action, which I think you’re going to see.”

Added Hemric: “These Cup cars get up to speed so quick compared to the Xfinity car, with such low downforce and high horsepower. It’s been fun to figure out how to get that laid down here around the roval.”

Luckily, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray were all experiencing the road course for the first time.

“Obviously, being my first time in (a Cup car), you’re trying to be aware of what you’re doing yourself,” Hemric said. “But to be able to lean on those guys, have the same thoughts as them, really collaborate with NASCAR and the race track to figure out where we should place those chicanes and all that stuff. I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress working as a group.”

MORE: Daniel Hemric returning to RCR in 2018

 

Matt Tifft: Richard Childress Racing will be ‘totally new world for me’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCORD, North Carolina — After two years and more than 35 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, Matt Tifft will have a new home next season.

It was announced last week that Tifft, 21, will join Richard Childress Racing next season driving the No. 2 Chevrolet.

Tifft said Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway the move will present a “totally new world for me.” The native of Hinckley, Ohio, will drive something other than a Toyota for the first time since 2014 when he competed in three Camping World Truck Series races for B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

“I don’t know how the simulation of the Chevy things work,” Tifft said. “I don’t know what they do differently on the engineering side or the driver development side. All that will be new to me. New crew chief, new guys. That part is always exciting because you have newness around it. Not to say this was bad at all, because I’m really having a great time with my guys right now and it’s been a lot of fun. You have the opportunity to be there for a couple of years and hopefully grow together and get to a place where we’re winning races.”

There are four races left in Tifft’s tenure driving the No. 19 Toyota for JGR. In his rookie Xfinity season, Tifft has two top fives and 10 top 10s following Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tifft is one of the eight drivers left in the playoffs.

He finished ninth in Saturday’s race, recovering from an uncontrolled tire penalty that sent him a lap down and temporarily outside the top eight in the standings.

No matter the outcome of Tifft’s playoff experience this season, he has multi-year deal waiting for him at RCR’s shop in Welcome, North Carolina.

“It’s something I had to do for my career to be able to hopefully stay around a while longer,” Tifft said. “It’s exciting for sure. Obviously, right now the playoffs matter. This year matters. It’s something for sure to look forward to next year.”

Tifft will be joining a RCR operation that will include at least Daniel Hemric. The driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet was announced as returning to RCR next season in the hours before Tifft’s news was announced.

Next season will be Tifft’s first in NASCAR with a full-time teammate.

MORE: Daniel Hemric moves forward with new RCR contract

Similar to Tifft, Hemric arrived at RCR this year after having driven a Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series in 2016. But he had driven a Chevrolet the previous year while racing for NTS Motorsports.

“He has so much car knowledge,” Tifft said of Hemric. “He comes from a background of working on and building cars and that’s really cool and it’s really admirable for a driver to do that. I understand the workings of the cars a good bit and I’ve learned a lot more about it. But having someone like that I think will just improve my understanding of these cars and what exactly I need to know about them. It’s nice to have a teammate there that can explain anything going on and you can bounce stuff off each other. That will definitely be a great thing for me.”

and on Facebook

Daniel Hemric moves forward with new contract, but without key crew members in Xfinity playoffs

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCORD, North Carolina — It’s been an uneven week for Daniel Hemric.

The 26-year-old driver arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a new contract with Richard Childress Racing, keeping him in the team’s No. 21 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series next year.

But the rookie, one of 12 drivers in the Xfinity playoffs, also entered the 1.5-mile track without three key crew members who are suspended for the next four races.

Crew chief Danny Stockman Jr., car chief Clint Almquist and engineer Luke Mason were suspended after a piece of tungsten ballast fell off Hemric’s car on pit road at Dover.

They will not be eligible to return until the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The suspension comes with Hemric sitting fifth in the standings, 37 points above the first driver outside a transfer spot. The Round of 8 field will be decided by Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 300.

But Hemric believes his team will be unfazed by the suspensions due to RCR’s depth and experience. Randall Burnett, a former Cup crew chief, will serve as crew chief of the No. 21.

“Obviously, we accepted what happened,” Hemric said Friday. “We know it’s unacceptable and we’re not very proud of how it all went down on our end. But I talked about the depth of the company earlier and how we answer those calls, that depends on us. I feel solid with the group of guys we have to move forward with. I know Danny Stockman and my engineer back at the shop are still very, very, heavily involved in what’s going to happen at the race track, throughout the race weekends and know those guys have been a huge part of what’s gotten me into this situation we’re in.

“I know as a whole, RCR is rallying around myself and Brendan Gaughan here in the Xfinity Series to make sure that we have the best possible shop to run for the championship. We’re going to take what was given to us throughout the week (in) stride and feel like it’s not going affect us in any form of a negative way going forward.”

If Hemric falters and isn’t able to advance to the next round, he can be at ease knowing a disappointing end to the season won’t hurt his career prospects come February. Hemric and Matt Tifft were both announced as part of RCR’s Xfinity lineup for next season. 

“It’s obviously a very humbling situation to be a part of,” said Hemric, who is a native of nearby Kannapolis. “Just so pumped up to be part of Richard Childress Racing. … everybody knows we’re kind of in a rebuilding mode. I think we’ve done that all year on the Xfinity side. I know the Cup side’s doing the same thing.”

While RCR won two Cup races this year, the team’s five Xfinity cars have not won this season. The last year RCR did not win a Xfinity race was 2011, when it only made three starts with Tim George, Jr.

“I look forward to being able to stay with the progression of where the company’s going,” Hemric said. “Anytime you can be a part of that, it’s a very trying time because you can get down. But I think Richard Childress is a great leader, we’ve got a bunch of great leaders, a lot of depth in our company that’s allowed us to take these strides, staying together good or bad.”

Hemric has six top fives and 14 top 10s in 28 starts this season. He’s still looking for his first NASCAR victory after 49 starts in the Camping World Truck Series proved fruitless.

When RCR made its announcement regarding Hemric, it did not announce if Stockman would remain his crew chief next year.

“Danny Stockman has done an incredible job of not only assembling a race team from scratch, which is what we did over the offseason leading into this year,” Hemric said. “A group of guys that never really worked hand-in-hand together. What we did in such a short amount of time was pretty impressive from my side, on the outside looking in and being involved in it. I’m proud of that. We’ll get through the four-race suspension with those guys and kind of reevaluate everything over the offseason. That’s our time to figure out what’s best for my career and what’s best for the company moving forward.”

and on Facebook

Matt Tifft joining Richard Childress Racing to drive No. 2 Xfinity car in 2018

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Matt Tifft will drive full-time for Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series next year, the team announced Thursday.

Tifft, a rookie with Joe Gibbs Racing this season, will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet as part of a multi-year deal.

The 21-year-old driver of the No. 19 Toyota is one of the 12 in the Xfinity playoffs that continue this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Tifft’s news comes on the same day RCR announced Daniel Hemric will return to drive the No. 21 Chevrolet next season.

“I am very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to race for a championship and grow as a driver under one the most successful and historic teams in NASCAR,” Tifft said in a press release. “RCR has a long history of developing partnerships through its Xfinity Series program.

“I am looking forward to being a part of the family and applying what I have learned in my first full-time Xfinity Series season while continuing to grow with the goal of competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the future.”

Tifft has made 39 Xfinity starts since 2015. He has no wins, three top fives and 15 top 10s. In 2016, Tifft missed a portion of the season as he recovered from having a low-grade brain tumor removed.

“Matt is a talented race car driver and an even better young man,” Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR said in a press release. “I’ve watched him race for the past few years and we were impressed by his ability. We look forward to welcoming Matt to our Xfinity Series program and having him compete for a championship with RCR.”

Daniel Hemric back at Richard Childress Racing in Xfinity Series next year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Daniel Hemric will return to Richard Childress Racing’s Xfinity Series operation next season, the team announced Thursday.

Hemric, a rookie this season, will once again drive the No. 21 Chevrolet.

The native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, is one of the 12 drivers in the Xfinity playoffs that continue this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In his first 28 Xfinity starts Hemric has six top fives and 14 top 10s. He also earned the pole for the spring race at Richmond Raceway and won the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It is always a special time when you can re-sign with a team like Richard Childress Racing that has done so much in our sport,” Hemric said in a press release. “I’ve learned a lot from Richard both about racing and life in general, many lessons that I will never forget.
“While we still are contending for the Xfinity Series championship this year and have unfinished business in the final five races, I’m fortunate that I will again be running for the Series championship in 2018 with RCR and Richard in my corner.”
Hemric was hired by RCR after making 49 starts in the Camping World Truck Series from 2013-16. He competed full-time in 2015-16 and earned 15 top fives and 30 top 10s.
“Daniel is a special driver that we’re thrilled to have back for the 2018 season,” Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR said in a press release. “He works hard at being the best race car driver he can possibly be.
“There aren’t too many other drivers that have a work ethic like he does, which we value here at RCR. Daniel is constantly in the race shop meeting with his crew chief, our engineers, the simulation team and his teammates to understand how to get better. On top of that, Daniel is an excellent ambassador for RCR’s partners. He carries himself well, treats everyone with respect and understands the importance of sponsorship.”
Hemric enters Saturday’s elimination race at Charlotte Motor Speedway fifth in the playoff standings and 37 points above the first driver outside the last transfer spot.