By Toby Christie (Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie)
During a special 50th anniversary event for employees on Friday, Richard Childress Racing revealed that Daniel Hemric will be driving a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with an iconic car number proudly displayed on the sides of it for the 2019 season.
The team announced, that although originally the feeling was that Hemric would drive the No. 31 during his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie campaign, the young driver from Kannapolis, NC will be driving the No. 8 car going forward.
Of course, the patriarch of the Earnhardt racing family, Ralph Earnhardt used the number in the 1950s. Ralph’s son Dale used the number in several lower-tier NASCAR events throughout the years. Dale Earnhardt of course went on to drive and win six of his seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships for Richard Childress Racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. carried on the tradition of the No. 8 as he drove the number in the Cup Series from 1999 to 2007.
Now Hemric, who hails from the same town as the Earnhardt family, will join the prestigious legacy of the number.
“Growing up in Kannapolis, it was all about racing,” said Hemric. “I always dreamed of having the opportunity to drive for RCR and for Richard himself. Now, two iconic numbers, the 3 and the 8, are going to be under one roof. I know it makes Richard happier than anybody, just understanding what that means for the sport of NASCAR and how our fans are going to be able to connect with that.”
Team owner Richard Childress believes his young driver has what it takes to make the No. 8 a formidable team on the circuit.
“With his Kannapolis roots and his old-school racer mentality, Daniel Hemric is the perfect choice to bring the No.8 back to the Cup Series on a full-time basis,” said Childress. “He has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be a contender on the racetrack, and we are looking forward to the next step in his career.”
During the event, the team also officially announced that crew chief Luke Lambert, who had served as Ryan Newman’s crew chief for years, will be back as crew chief for Hemric.
The sponsorship picture was also revealed for the No. 8 team. A combination of Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Cessna, Liberty National Insurance and Red Kap Workwear will adorn the vehicle throughout the 2019 season.
Richard Childress Racing will be celebrating their 50th year of operation this season and it all kicks off with the Daytona 500 on February 17th.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.