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Starting first, Daniel Hemric ‘comfortable,’ in ‘attack’ mode for XFINITY playoff race at Dover

DOVER, Del. — Daniel Hemric has 113 NASCAR National Series starts with 453 laps led over that span. Even with those totals, there’s one zero in the most important category: Wins. At 27 years old, in his second full season in Richard Childress’ No. 21 XFINITY car, Hemric is still looking for his first National Series victory.

That could very well change this evening as Hemric captured his third pole of the evening for the 33rd annual Bar Harbor 200 presented by Sea Watch International with a lap of 22.749 seconds, 158.249 miles per hour.

“I feel as good as we can,” Hemric told TRE after practice Friday. “The speed in the South Point Hotel & Casino Camaro has been good since we unloaded.”

On Friday, Hemric was seventh-fastest in first practice and fastest in the final session, showcasing the speed that could right past heartbreak. Last year, Hemric led late in the Richmond spring race, but couldn’t close the deal. He finished second at Mid-Ohio in 2017 and was consisent enough to make the Championship Four at Homestead before mechanical issues doomed a solid, championship-contending night.

This year, he’s tripled his laps led, came runner-up twice and third eight times. After practice Friday, Hemric had this to say about this car: “It’s really hard to get comfortable here [at Dover] and it’s probably the most comfortable race car I’ve ever had. Looking forward to having a shot.”

Hemric’s 101.7 driver rating at the Monster Mile ranks fifth amongst the 12 playoff drivers, according to DriverAverages.com. In three career XFINITY Series races at Dover, his average finish is 6.7 — fourth-best of the playoff drivers — with two top fives and three top 20s.

Heading into the XFINITY Series Round of 12 elimination race, Hemric sits second in the standings, 33 behind leader Christopher Bell and 30 ahead of the cutline. His 13 top fives in 28 XFINITY races ranks among the best and his consistency is solid enough to land him a full-time Cup ride in Childress’ No. 31 next year. But if Hemric wants to be taken seriously, he’ll need to finally win at the NASCAR level.

Top line speed and 30 points to the good could take care of that Saturday evening.

“I think we’re in a situation where we can attack and be comfortable and confident doing it,” Hemric said “We’ll do the same thing we’ve done to this point and that’s go and race.”

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