With A Friendship Built To Win, Daniel Hemric and William Byron Will Go Head-To-Head For XFINITY Series Championshipby Benjamin Sanders November 17, 2017
Daniel Hemric once built a Late Model for William Byron, and now they are battling for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.
Both drivers are not many years removed from racing Legends cars and Late Models and have competed in the same division throughout their careers. A post Byron filed to Twitter sparked memories for both drivers.
Around the garage, Byron is mentioned as one of the most naturally talented drivers in recent memory, even garnering the praises of Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski this weekend. Hemric spotted this early and made sure to mentor the young man so he could learn restarts and how to use momentum in qualifying.
“I’m not sure you guys saw the other picture, but there was one a couple years ago, heck, he (William Byron) ran his first crate late model for me,” Hemric said. “I built a car, crew chiefed the car, assembled a team, and he actually drove for me. To be able to see his progression, and in all honesty, the kid’s unbelievable. He did exactly what he’s doing here in NASCAR, he did ‑‑ as soon as he got in that thing, he was fast right off the bat.”
Some of Hemric’s fondest racing memories was competing against Byron in his early Legend car days. Byron was still raw at the time, but he quickly honed his craft to be the most exciting driver to pass through NASCAR’s ladder system.
“Believe it or not, it probably was some of those Legend car days ‑‑ Summer Shootout Tuesday nights at Charlotte Motor Speedway, him and I kind of separated ourselves every week to be the two fastest cars,” Hemric said. “Luckily the year that him and I were in the same division, we got the best of him probably 60 percent of the time. He can be beaten.”
Hemric is used to the underdog role and will embrace it this weekend to try and usurp the JR Motorsports juggernaut.
“I would personally like to be fighting from behind,” Hemric said. “I’ve been doing it, honestly, all my life it seems like. This is the best race car we’ve brought to the racetrack all year.”
Byron on the other hand is just grateful to be racing for a championship after a blown engine at Phoenix last season put an end to his dominant NASCAR Camping World Truck Series campaign.
“It is really awesome to be able to compete for a championship, you know, last year not having that opportunity it feels really cool to be a part of the excitement and part of the weekend,” Byron said.
Putting friendship aside, both drivers will race hard but fair for the championship this weekend.
“It is a cool feeling to know how we started and being at the local short track roots and all the kids that are in that environment trying to make it to this point,” Byron said. “We have always raced each other really hard and we are going to do the same thing. I feel like he’s somebody I know how to race, and we race with respect, but we are going to really race each other hard.”
The NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com