Kaulig Racing has found a replacement for Justin Haley. The NASCAR team behind three Xfinity Series cars has revealed that Daniel Hemric will take over the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro for the 2022 Xfinity Series season. He will part ways with Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2021 campaign and switch teams and manufacturers.
Kaulig Racing first teased a driver reveal on Friday, Sept. 24, after the Truck Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came to an end. The team tweeted out a photo of a silhouette standing in front of the Kaulig Racing logo. The rumor mill went into overdrive as NASCAR fans tried to figure out which driver would join the team, but Kaulig kept the secret under wraps until Saturday, Sept. 25.
“The belief that Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice have in me to come drive their notable, No. 11 car means the world to me,” Hemric said in a press release from the team. “Equally, I believe in their program, their vision, and what they’re building at Kaulig Racing. It’s impressive to see how they’ve become an elite, multi-car Xfinity Series program in such a short period of time. I’m just incredibly thankful for the opportunity to drive for them next year, and I’m ready to put in the work to continue building on the team’s success.”
Hemric has posted 113 starts in the Xfinity Series, mostly with Richard Childress Racing. He made 66 starts for the team between 2017 and 2018, as well as 36 Cup Series starts for RCR in 2019. Hemric added another 21 starts with JR Motorsports in 2020 before heading to Joe Gibbs Racing on a full-time basis for 2021. Hemric has yet to win in his Xfinity Series career, but he has earned 39 top-fives and 66 top-10 finishes.
Hemric Previously Revealed That He Was Close To Announcing a Deal
The driver of the No. 18 JGR Toyota Supra met with members of the media on Tuesday, Sept. 21, to preview the playoffs. However, he also took time to address his uncertain future in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Hemric revealed during a discussion with Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass that he was close to making an announcement.
“We’re really close to announcing all that stuff,” Hemric told Pockrass. “It’s still up in the air, but hopefully, sooner or later, we’ll get pen to paper and get all that stuff locked down.”
Hemric’s statement created intrigue as NASCAR fans tried to determine whether he would remain with Joe Gibbs Racing or move to another team. They did not have to wait for a long time considering that Kaulig dropped the news less than one week later.
Hemric Has Big Plans for the Xfinity Playoffs Before He Leaves JGR
Hemric showcased his excitement for the new deal on Twitter, saying that the team is building “something special” in the Xfinity Series. However, he also made it clear that he has unfinished business with JGR. His goal is to deliver a championship to the team before exiting the No. 18.
Hemric enters the first round of the playoffs as the sixth seed with 2,014 points. He sits behind race winners Austin Cindric, future teammate AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, and Justin Haley in the standings. Hemric also has six other drivers behind him, as well as a nine-point cushion.
Moving on to the next round will not be simple, but Hemric will try to achieve this goal at three tracks where he has previous success. He has six starts in his Xfinity career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with two top-fives. He also has one top-five at Talladega and another at the Charlotte Roval, the two tracks that round out the first portion of the playoff schedule.
If Hemric continues to perform at a consistent level, he will likely move on to the second round of the playoffs, but he will face a bigger test. There will only be three more races in which he can accumulate enough points to reach the championship event in Phoenix, and he will have to chase down the favorites in Cindric and Allmendinger.