While the weather has pushed Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway to Sunday, a former series champion — Daniel Hemric — was unexpectedly spotted walking on crutches.
FS1 caught up with Hemric to talk about why the driver was utilizing crutches, and Hemric explained that he injured his knee late in the week during training heading into the race weekend.
Talking with @DanielHemric about why he's on crutches in Fontana.#NASCARonFS1 | https://t.co/0yZJP6vLB9 pic.twitter.com/WkrtiTNEsu
— Josh Sims (@JoshRSims) February 26, 2023
“I’ve had a long history of knee injuries, to be honest with you,” Hemric said to FS1. “I have just been fortunate over the last eight to 10 years to not have one, since driving NASCAR vehicles and my timeline finally ran out up this past week.”
Hemric said he made a move during his training session, and when he did, his leg locked up. Due to the injury occurring so late in the week, Hemric will have to wait until next week when he returns to North Carolina to get his knee looked at to determine the severity of the injury.
“In training, I planted my leg wrong and my knee folded up on me. It happened so late in the week on Thursday, got back on a plane on Friday and got out here, can’t have MRIs and all of that stuff done until I get back on the East coast on Monday or Tuesday, hopefully,” Hemric explained.
While the 32-year-old racer doesn’t officially know what is wrong with his knee, he says that based on past injuries, he has a good idea of what the status of his knee is.
“Don’t know the extent of it, other than the fact that this is about number four for me. Pretty obvious I think I know what I’ve done to it,” Hemric said. “Just a matter of getting back and really assessing it.”
While the extent of the injury and treatment plans for the knee will be figured out next week, there is still a task at hand — Sunday’s weather-delayed NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway. Hemric feels confident that his team was able to get the car comfortable enough that his knee injury shouldn’t play much of a factor in the race.
“Everybody has been great, NASCAR and Kaulig working with me, Facetiming me back at the shop Thursday night,” Hemric said. “Trying to figure out what to do to get me comfortable in the car and all that stuff. And the car is already out here, right? Trying to wing it as best as we can and felt fairly comfortable out there riding for the pace laps.”
Hemric is set to start Sunday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race from the 35th starting position (full starting lineup here) after the field was set by NASCAR’s performance metric.