CONCORD, N.C. — Daniel Hemric was inches short of advancing to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
The driver of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet used a three-wide dive exiting the frontstretch chicane as the checkered flag waved at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, putting himself to the left of Kaz Grala and Parker Kligerman. In the end, he was 0.038 seconds shy of the two pivotal positions — and points — he needed to advance while Sheldon Creed snagged the eighth and final position in the penultimate postseason series.
“I thought did exactly what we wanted to do, what we needed to do, short of winning both stages, right?” Hemric said. “I mean, we maxed out the day and felt like we were going to possibly win the second stage but the yellow came out there coming to the white. So yeah, I mean, so with that, maybe one more point. But at the end of the day, we missed it by two. But we gave up a chunk, you know, closer to 25, 30 points probably at Texas. So yeah, I don’t want us missing the playoffs taking away from the great job this race team did today.”
Indeed, Hemric’s results at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 23 — a 24th-place DNF — cost the Kannapolis, North Carolina native his chance to advance after issues at the Fort Worth track. Hemric clipped the frontstretch grass on Lap 19 there, causing significant issues for the No. 10 team.
He and the team returned in strong fashion to the Charlotte road course, netting a race-high 48 points — bolstered by the 18 tallies he earned by scoring runner-up finishes in both stages. The effort was valiant, but the results were just short.
“I mean, I thought with the 48 (Kligerman), I saw the move he was gonna put on the 26 (Grala) there coming to the start-finish line or coming to the (frontstretch) chicane, and it played out almost like I wanted it to,” Hemric said. “But yeah, I mean I could have ran over him. I don’t know. But I wasn’t gonna do it. You know, I’m extremely proud of this race team and the way we executed today. We had a plan, stuck to a plan.
“We didn’t lose it here today. We lost it at Texas. So yeah, that falls on myself. But I have big shoulders. I can handle it. We’ll continue this journey.”
Advancing on the other side of the line was Creed, who walked away with a 10th-place finish in Charlotte.
“It’s the happiest I’ve ever been to run 10th,” Creed said with a laugh. “Probably the hardest I’ve had to work for one — maybe not the hardest. I have to work hard for 10th a lot. But just, I don’t know. I’m happy for the guys. I’m happy for the team. Not so much myself, but I’m more happy for everyone else that works on the thing and works in the shop. They put a lot of hours in to make it all happen and to see us make the Round of 8 is a big deal for everyone.
“I just hope we can actually be something in this next round.”
Also on the outside looking in were Parker Kligerman (-5), Josh Berry (-43) and Jeb Burton (-64).
The Round of 8 begins Oct. 14 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, USA, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).