The #21 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO BEGINS THE SEASON AS A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER
The POWERSHARES QQQ 300 at Daytona marks the beginning of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Coming off his rookie season in the Xfinity Series, Daniel Hemric brings experience and results to a renewed effort to win the Xfinity Championship. Under the leadership of the former driver, team owner, championship-winning crew chief and recently appointed Vice President of Competition Andy Petree, Hemric again pairs with crew-chief Danny Stockman.
2017 was a very good year for Daniel Hemric. Winning the Dash 4 Cash at Bristol, the pole at Richmond, strong road race runs at Road America including 2nd at MidOhio, and racing into the final four at Phoenix are notable events. In the season’s 33 races, Daniel had 18 Top Ten and 7 Top Five finishes, 1 Pole, 2 Stage Wins and 9 Playoff Points (Xfinity playoff 4th seed).
Building optimism at RCR is NASCAR’s adaptation of the composite body in the Xfinity Series for all non-superspeedway races. Beginning with the second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Xfinity Series teams will be racing the “flange fit” composite body first used at Richmond, Dover and Phoenix last fall.
“I felt like running those bodies first at Richmond, a place that’s really slick and hard on tires, we got a decent idea on the handling of the new bodies but pace-wise there wasn’t much of a change,” said Hemric. “We did see the field close up a little bit. The aero grip of that body seemed to not matter as much as the mechanical grip of the car. For guys who spent their whole lives short track racing and trying to make as much grip as they can in the car from the mechanic side, it made a lot more sense.”
Complicating the use of composite bodies, Xfinity teams will be dealing with a new NASCAR Technical inspection system that replaces the much maligned laser inspection system (LIS). The new system, a form of structured-light 3D scanning uses cameras and light projectors inside a dark tent enclosure to make a digital image of each race car and immediately compare it to the digital image required by NASCAR.
“I actually like the idea of the flange-fit body,” said Danny Stockman, crew chief of the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro. “I think it’s going to be good for the series, and the racing will be better because of it. The cars are going to be more of a handful to drive. They’re going to make less downforce than they did last year, we know that based off how they ran last year. I think the drivability of the car is going to have to be better to make speed, because we won’t have as much aero grip as we’ve had in the past, so we’ll have to make grip in the tires with suspension.”