PENSACOLA, Fla. — official release — SSS photo — Daniel Hemric had been knocking on the door to victory lane on the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco. Friday night, he busted down the door and earned his first series victory of the season.
After leading the most laps at Gresham in the most recent race only to come up short of victory lane, Hemric rebounded to take the lead two laps short of the lap 75 break and never looked back to pick up the victory in the Papa John’s 125 at Five Flags Speedway.
“I was trying to run a consistent pace tonight,” said Hemric. “I think a lot of people doubted us in the series this year because we couldn’t finish a race off. We had led at the break a few times and the car got tight, but we got it done tonight.”
Hemric is the defending Buddy’s Home Furnishing Blizzard Series champion at Five Flags and Southern Super Series champion, but prior to Gresham he had not finished on the podium all year. With Friday’s win, he has now finished second and first in his last two races.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to come to races like this and win,” said Hemric. “We didn’t get to do a back flip when we won here last year, but we got to do it for the crowd here tonight.”
Hemric became the leader when he blew by Spencer Davis, who had opened up a more than four-second lead early in the 125-lap race. From there, Hemric got out clean on the restart when Donnie Wilson spun his tires after the lap-75 competition caution.
Mike Garvey had a strong surge in the final 15 laps to score a second-place finish.
“We had been trying some changes this year and it wasn’t really working after 10 laps,” said Garvey. “We made some wholesale changes and we got things back to where we needed in practice on Thursday. We are close and it feels good to have a solid run.”
Rounding out the top five were Bubba Pollard, Donnie Wilson and Augie Grill. Anderson Bowen came into the race as the point leader, but his 16th-place finish gives Bubba Pollard the unofficial point lead heading to Mobile.