Daniel Hemric Sets Daytona 500 Return

Daniel Hemric

Getty Daniel Hemric will make his return to the Daytona 500.

The reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion has set the date for his first Cup Series race of 2022. Daniel Hemric will drive the No. 16 entry for Kaulig Racing during the Daytona 500 on February 20.

Kaulig Racing announced the news on Friday, January 21. The organization confirmed that Hemric will drive the No. 16 while full-time Cup Series driver Justin Haley will drive the No. 31. The 2022 Daytona 500 will mark the second time that Hemric suits up for the Daytona 500, along with his start with Richard Childress Racing in 2019.

Hemric returning to the Daytona 500 was an expectation based on other pieces of available information. Noah Gragson, who will also make starts in the No. 16, already committed to joining Beard Motorsports for the season-opening Daytona 500. Kaulig Racing owner Matt Kaulig also told Heavy that AJ Allmendinger does not particularly want to take on the superspeedway races in the Cup Series.

The Kaulig Racing Driver Schedule Largely Remains a Mystery

Kaulig Racing has not revealed the full schedule for its three rotating drivers in the No. 16, but there are some details available. Allmendinger will drive the No. 16 during the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum on February 6. Gragson also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on January 20 that he will make his first start of the year for Kaulig Racing on March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Apart from these pieces of available information, the schedule for the three drivers largely remains a mystery. Though there are some predictions to make based on past success and other factors.

If Allmendinger does not want to take on superspeedways, it becomes more likely that Hemric will also compete in both races at Talladega Superspeedway, as well as the regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway.

There is also a possibility where he takes on some of the intermediate tracks, such as Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, based on his 23 career top-five finishes at tracks between one and two miles in length. This run includes Hemric’s championship-winning victory at Phoenix Raceway.

Allmendinger, on the other hand, will likely take on the road courses. He captured the team’s first Cup Series win in 2021 by conquering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He also has a Cup Series win at Watkins Glen International from the 2014 season.

Short Tracks Will Have Multiple Options

Championship 4

GettyThree of the four championship drivers from 2021 will make starts for Kaulig Racing.

While Allmendinger will be the natural fit for road courses, he will be one of the multiple options for short tracks such as Martinsville, Richmond, and Bristol. Gragson is also a strong possibility based on his own past success.

The JR Motorsports driver has five career Xfinity Series wins, split between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Three of his trips to Victory Lane have taken place at short tracks. Gragson won at Bristol in 2020 and then he added victories at Martinsville and Richmond during the 2021 season.

Allmendinger, by comparison, has 10 wins in his Xfinity Series career, including five during the 2021 season. Though only one took place on a road course. He captured the 2021 regular-season championship trophy at Bristol after a final-lap battle with Austin Cindric.

READ NEXT: Ryan Ellis Secures New Partner for Talladega Race

Read More