Much like NASCAR star Carl Edwards, defending Southern Super Series champion Daniel Hemric likes to celebrate victories with a signature backflip.
The Kannapolis, N.C. native won his first race at Five Flags Speedway back in May 2013 but wasn’t able to execute a backflip because he won following an Augie Grill disqualification. He finally flipped out in Pensacola, scoring his first Southern Super Series victory of the season in runaway fashion over the final 50 laps of the Papa Johns 125.
Not including the mandatory halfway caution on lap 75, the race went without accident or caution.
In the first half, outside pole-sitter Spencer Davis led the first 74 laps after outdueling fastest qualifier Hunter Robbins. Hemric methodically pulled Davis in and made the move for the top position on lap 75. He withheld a challenge from Donnie Wilson on the only restart of the night and pulled away incrementally for the remainder of the event.
“This was a big deal for us,” Daniel Hemric said of his Carswell Motorsports team. “We won here last year but we weren’t able to do the backflip for the fans. This is the one place that I’ve wanted to do a backflip at the most.”
Hemric started his championship defense off a little slow with sub-top-10 finishes at South Alabama Speedway and Five Flags in the spring but has finished no worse than fifth since an April 26 race at Mobile. The consistency and wins between PASS, CRA and now the Southern Super Series has him eyeing a second-consecutive title.
“It’s like I always say, you’ve got to have faith,” Hemric said. “We’ve heard the talk that we’ve won everywhere but in our home series and now we’ve responded. It would be a big deal for everyone on our team to get back in the championship mix and nights like this prove that we can go out and get it done.”
Anderson Bowen entered the weekend with a 26 point championship lead over Bubba Pollard but suffered from a faulty tire in the first half of the race. He qualified outside of the top-15 and stayed there until dropping a lap to Davis in the early stages of the event.
He changed right sides during the halftime break and crew chief Ricky Turner found a flaw in the batch of tires. Following the halfway break, Bowen ran some of the fastest laps of the race but was unable to get back on the lead lap and finished 16th.
“It’s just a rotten deal,” Bowen said. “I feel like we had one of the fastest cars here and we never got a chance to show it. It’s one of those things that just happens in racing and we have to move on. We finished second to Donnie (Wilson) the last time we were at Mobile and I think we’ve got a shot to go out there and get a win.
“But yeah, I can’t say that I’m not disappointed.”
With Bowen’s result, third place Bubba Pollard inherited the championship lead by six points over Pollard and 16 over Augie Grill. The top five in the standings entered the race with 56 points of the lead and now leave all within 35.
“Yeah, but that doesn’t matter because the Series is probably just going to cancel the championship finale because they couldn’t find a replacement,” Pollard said in reference to the SSS’ attempts to replace the recently defected All-American 400.
During the drivers meeting on Friday, Series director Dan Spence explained that the tour is looking to replace the All-American 400 with an event at a venue that has not hosted a series race and has begun negotiating with one such unnamed track.
Behind Hemric and rounding out the top-10 was Mike Garvey, Pollard, Wilson, Augie Grill, TJ Reaid, Hunter Robbins, Spencer Davis, Harrison Burton and Casey Roderick. The complete results and updated championship standings can be found below.
Papa Johns 125 Official Race Results (SSS Round 10):
- Daniel Hemric
- Mike Garvey
- Bubba Pollard
- Donnie Wilson
- Augie Grill
- TJ Reaid
- Hunter Robbins
- Spencer Davis
- Harrison Burton
- Casey Roderick
- David Rogers
- Korey Ruble
- Johanna Long
- Kyle Grissom
- Kyle Bryant
- Anderson Bowen
- Logan Boyett
- Allen Karnes
- Will Gallaher
- Spencer Wauters
Unofficial Championship Standings:
- Bubba Pollard Ldr.
- Daniel Hemric -6
- Augie Grill -16
- Anderson Bowen -23
- Donnie Wilson -35