Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, clinched the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors with a 12th-place finish in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Hemric ended the season with one top five and two top 10s and a 22.5 average finish. He won the battle over JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ryan Preece.
"I wish we were able to win Rookie of the Year and have a couple more solid finishes throughout the year than what we had, but about five or six years ago, myself and Preece somehow ended up tied with four or five races to go, so we knew we had to buckle down," Hemric said. "Really proud of this group for doing that."
Hemric is now the 19th different Chevrolet driver to win the award in NASCAR’s premier racing series since 1972. He joins the list of recognizable Chevy-powered names, including Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Jeff Gordon.
Next season, Hemric will drive for JR Motorsports in 21 Xfinity Series races.
"I go into tomorrow, into next year knowing that I have an incredible opportunity with JR Motorsports and have Dale and Kelley, LW, everyone I’ve been dealing with over there for the last couple weeks giving me the shot," Hemric said. "It is a breath of fresh air. Got some really good racetracks lined up on the schedule that we’re still somewhat putting together, but there’s a lot opportunity there to go out, and there’s no gray area. They know why I’m coming there. They know my goal is to get back to this level, and I feel like it’ll be a full force effort to get me back."