LONG POND, Pa. — Entering the Pocono Mountains 150 on Friday at Pocono Raceway, there are just five races remaining before the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Grid is locked in.
Through the regular season, there have been seven different winners so far, but two of those drivers (Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson) are Sprint Cup regulars who are ineligible to compete for the Truck Series championship, giving the series five names currently “locked-in” to the Truck Chase.
William Byron (4), Matt Crafton (2), Johnny Sauter (1), Christopher Bell (1), and John Hunter Nemechek (1) have each captured wins with their respective teams and will featured in the newest postseason format, starting at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September.
However, with eight total positions available on the Chase Grid, three open spots are still undecided on points as the series roars into the Pocono mountains this weekend — and two drivers are hoping to capitalize by scoring their first-career series wins.
Daniel Hemric (No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford)
In his first full-time season with Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR), hotshoe Daniel Hemric has shown tremendous consistency, leading him to the sixth slot, provisionally, on the Chase Grid. He currently has the most points of anyone in the series without a win.
Hailing from Kannapolis, N.C., Hemric has recorded four top five finishes this season and enters Pocono with a 46-point cushion over Ben Kennedy, who is ninth in points and the first man outside the grid.
“Really, this is just about Brad Keselowski Racing and me continuing to bring same effort that we have been to the racetrack each week,” Hemric told Race Chaser Online during the Bojangles Summer Shootout. “We have put ourselves in contention, with a legitimate shot, to win at least once or twice now.”
“But, like I said, if we continue to do what we have been doing each week, then everything else will take care of itself. I feel like our execution has been the best it can be the last the two or three races. I know we are doing all that we can do, though, the cards have just not fallen to to place perfectly.”
On Friday afternoon, the former southeast short track standout hopes to erase all worry and earn his first-career Camping World Truck Series win, almost guaranteeing himself a chance at the series title.
During his debut at Pocono and single start at the ‘Tricky Triangle’ last season, Hemric earned a ninth place finish for the now-defunct NTS Motorsports.
“Pocono is a very tricky track for a driver,” Hemric expressed. “The good thing is that the driver does matter a lot there — [and not so much setup]. Also, knowing how to carry momentum from the third turn onto the frontstretch will be huge.”