MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
BANK OF AMERICAN ROVAL 400
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROVAL
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
Richard Childress Racing announced today they have promoted one of their current Xfinity Series drivers, Daniel Hemric to drive the No. 31 Camaro ZL1 in 2019. The announcement featured Richard Childress, chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, Torrey Galida, president of Richard Childress Racing and Daniel Hemric. Full Transcript:
MODERATOR: Good Afternoon and welcome, we are glad to be here today to share publicly the latest news from the Richard Childress Racing camp. First, we would be remiss if we didn’t thank Marcus Smith, Greg Walter, Scott Cooper and the entire team at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the hospitality as always. It’s definitely going to be an interesting weekend of racing. I can just about attest to that. To kick things off I would like to introduce the three gentlemen on stage. First, Richard Childress, chairman and chief executive officer of Richard Childress Racing, Daniel Hemric, and Torrey Galida, President of Richard Childress Racing.
TORREY GALIDA: “I would like to echo thanks to everyone here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Scott, thank you for the hospitality. Thank you to all of you for being here today, we appreciate it. I am extremely happy to be able to end six months of speculation about where Daniel Hemric is going to end up in 2019. So, Daniel will be driving the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 2019. At RCR, Richard and the RCR team have had really a great record of success at bringing up young drivers through the Xfinity Series and making a number of them really successful at the Cup level. In fact, three of those drivers are here this weekend and competing for a Cup Series championship this year. So, we are all justifiably proud of that and really proud to have Daniel as the latest member of that group. So, Daniel, congratulations and on behalf of everybody at RCR and ECR we are really proud to have you and Kenzie (Hemric, wife) remain a part of the RCR family.”
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Thank you, I appreciate that. It’s unbelievable to see how starting here so many years ago has led to this point. It’s going to be an honor to continue down this path over the next, hopefully, couple of years and just to be able to give it a shot. Thanks Torrey, thanks Richard, thanks to all of our staff at RCR, everyone here at Charlotte Motor Speedway for giving us the time to talk about this. I’m just incredibly humbled and honored to know that all those nights and all those… excuse me I’m going to get all choked up here. That’s what it’s all about right (fighting back tears).”
MODERATOR: Richard chime in there go ahead, say a few remarks if you would.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “Yeah, I’m really proud of this day. I know a lot of you have asked around, asked me who is driving, what are you doing? I have been watching Daniel since he was a young boy over here. I call him a boy, back in the day, him, Austin (Dillon), and Ty (Dillon) were all racing bandoleros, legends, those cars and I saw then the talent that Daniel had and to get him on Austin and Ty both have been for years trying to get him to drive for us. And to get him on the Xfinity cars and to see his talent and now to be able to make the largest move of his career to put him in a Cup car, I think back at the other drivers like Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Ty, these are the drivers that I looked at their talent when they were very young and was fortunate to put them in cars and be able to go out and win races and do what they do best. I think Daniel falls right in that line with those guys because he has all the talent it takes to win. He will be a winner. He will be racing for championships in the Cup Series in the future, so Daniel, couldn’t be prouder of you buddy, to have you here.”
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Thank you, it means the world.”
DANIEL HEMRIC: “I think I’ve got it together now. I made eye contact with my wife back there and it got me. Yeah, I just think about so many people want to have this opportunity and they work their whole life for it and I think being able to sit up here and be a testament to that and be a testament to what this sport was built off of, of families doing whatever they could to give their kids shots I feel like that is no different than what this RCR family is about. I’m excited to announce that I’m a part of it and going to continue to be a part of it and doing it at the top series of what you work your whole life to get to. And going through this process everybody that has followed my career throughout the summer shootout here at CMS to super late models to modifieds to super late models and whatever it was, trying to make the most out of whatever those situations were and I think being in this spot today was a testament to each one of those folks that gave me a shot or gave me a ride whenever there wasn’t any rides to be given or to be had. So, I’m just extremely humbled and thankful and always had faith it would work out. Didn’t know when or where or where I would end up, but it’s incredibly humbling to know that this is my family moving forward.”
HOW DO YOU JUDGE TALENT? WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN MAKING A DECISION ABOUT WHO TO PUT IN A RACE CAR?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “I think you watch the driver’s talent, but then you’ve got to watch… I look at drivers what they have in their heart. He has what it takes to become a winner no different than these other guys that we have been fortunate enough to advance their careers on. You’ve got to have heart. You’ve got to sacrifice. I know how much sacrifice Daniel and his family has done to get him to where he is today. No different than the Harvick’s and Bowyer’s. That is the thing about this sport there is a lot of sacrifice and your family has to go with you on it and we are proud to have him part of our family.”
YOU HAD ANOTHER DRIVER FROM KANNAPOLIS (NORTH CAROLINA) THAT KIND OF WORKED OUT. DO YOU SEE ANY OF DALE (EARNHARDT, SR.) IN DANIEL?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “Yeah, Dale Earnhardt’s career wasn’t… he had to work his way up. I remember seeing him on dirt and seeing him in the late models and the things he did. To see Daniel, all the racing that he did over here at Charlotte and all the different tracks that he has ran, the late models, I think he has proved his self that he is well capable of being here, no different than Dale Earnhardt did in his day.”
AS YOU GREW UP IN KANNAPOLIS, HOW BIG OF A DEAL WAS IT TO HAVE SOMEBODY LIKE DALE EARNHARDT AS THE GOAL OR AS SOMEBODY TO LOOK UP TO?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Yeah, I always said that Dale was my childhood hero growing up. To be able to drive by DEI (Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) on a regular basis it was less than five miles from my house growing up, so it was very special to be able to see kind of what the pinnacle of the sport was and it being that close to your house just to see his face and what he had … came from the same hometown and grew an empire to what it was. To have that stuff all come back full circle here at Richard Childress Racing and to have the guy he called his boss to have that guy be my leader moving forward of the company I’ve dreamed about racing for my entire life. Unbelievable how like I said that has come full circle and I’m sitting here today and right, wrong or indifferent from a little bit of the same backgrounds and the fact of Richard touched on it just having heart and having the desire and the motivation to get up every day when you get knocked down and standing back up and doing it again, that is what this is all about.”
DOES IT MAKE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT EXTRA SPECIAL TO MAKE IT HERE AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY KIND OF WHERE YOU GOT YOUR START IN RACING?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “I hadn’t even thought about that, honestly. Yeah, it definitely does. I sat up here for many a summer shootout championship and had the honor since having that success in those days to come out here and talk to younger racers and be a part of the process of what you hope you are in a situation to do one day. Never thought that whenever this moment would come that it would just so happen to fall in my backyard here in Charlotte. So, it makes it that much more special to see so many familiar faces and obviously the media and the folks that are normally covering our sport, but we get to have all my family here. All the guys and all the crew people that have had a hand in some way shape or form of building my career to this point are able to come here and share this moment with me and that is what is really cool about this is to know that we get to do it at home.”
IS THIS MOMENT WORK ALL THE HARD WORK?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Patient is an understatement. It definitely does. Just thinking about how I’ve had to do it. A lot of people say man why did you keep going and honestly, I didn’t know anything else to do. I knew one thing was for sure that I wasn’t ever going to reach this part of the sport that I love without keeping on trying at it. That is what has landed me here on my feet and landed a place I can call home at RCR. It does, I was telling stories earlier in the back my old super late model car owner Jake Hartzell is here and heck I was talking about string lining the right side of a race car at 4 a.m. trying to figure out, man somebody else come read this thing I can’t see the tape measure I’ve been up so long working on this thing. So, it’s cool to have the opportunity to share all that with these people.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE A KANNAPOLIS NATIVE BACK IN YOUR CAR? YOU’VE GOT DANIEL IN THE NO. 8 IN THE CUP RACE THIS WEEKEND. IS THERE ANY THOUGHT ABOUT CARRYING THE KANNAPOLIS TRADITION, THE NO. 8 WAS DALE JR’S NUMBER AND ALSO RALPH EARNHARDT’S NUMBER ON THE SHORT TRACKS? HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT SWITCHING THE NO. 31 TO THE NO. 8 NEXT YEAR?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “We have discussed it. But we haven’t finalized. Right now, it’s the No. 31. But, that’s not out of the question. When I very first wanted to run the No. 8, I called Dale Jr. and Kelley and told them what I was going to do and they thought it was great. And, we’ve had it for three or four years, here; and we just now started using it this year with Daniel. And we thought it was a perfect fit; him from Kannapolis, and putting the No. 8 with him.
“I want to touch back on what Daniel said. People have no idea about the sacrifices. When he said that about working on the right side of an old Late Mode. I used to go to the dealerships and get beat-up fenders and straighten them out and put them on my car. No sleep. And, that’s what I like about Daniel. He’s a racer. He’s not somebody that’s been handed or anything; he’s been out there and worked for it. And he’s been a racer.”
YOUR NAME CAME UP WITH A LOT OF DIFFERENT RIDES AND IT SEEMS LIKE YOU TALKED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE. HOW CLOSE DID YOU COME TO LEAVING? AND, WHY DIDN’T YOU?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “In my heart, I knew where I wanted to be and this was the path and this is where I wanted to land no matter how it shook out. There were times, and Richard will attest to this without diving too far into our business, where I looked at him and said please help me not make this decision. I believe you recall that. And, that’s exactly what he did. He made it to where he knew this is where I wanted to be and no matter what was being offered or thrown at me, if it could be worked out in some way, shape, or form, that RCR was my home. I’m incredibly fortunate to know that it worked out the way it has. We get to carry on not only what we’re starting now, but what I’ve been building on for two years from the personnel side to the partnerships to all of the people and folks we’re surrounded with at RCR and ECR and Chevrolet, that’s tough to even think about changing direction, whether you wanted to our not, how much you have invested. I think staying true to the journey and to the path and knowing that this was where I wanted to be all along, I’m just incredibly fortunate it worked out the way it did.”
FOR YEARS, YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN AN INSPIRATIONAL MOTIVATIONAL KIND OF GUY. WHEN YOU THINK BACK TO THAT ERA, HOW DID YOU WILL YOURSELF TO KEEP ON GOING KNOWING THAT PEOPLE SAID YOU’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT. YOU DON’T HAVE FUNDING. AND NOW, HERE YOU ARE, A CUP DRIVER
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Probably stubbornness. That’s what my wife would tell you (laughter). Throughout life, you try to be the one to add some motivation to somebody or do something to pick them up in their situation. I’ve seen hundreds and just tons and tons of kids that are more than capable of doing it and succeeding at the highest levels of sports. They’ll never get that shot. As things started to transpire and I saw that man, I might actually have a crack at this. And I may get my shot. It was believing and all that stuff and applying it to myself. That was the biggest thing. As I did that, it’s incredible to see how things turned and led to what they are. And I think it’s just believing in the words I was telling other people. I think when it came down to it that was the deciding factor in believing those words.”
WHAT DOES IT SAY THAT ON THE SAME DAY, RYAN PREECE WAS ABLE TO ANNOUNCE HIS DEAL?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Did he announce it? Good for him. I didn’t even hear it yet. I’ve been in the Xfinity car. That’s awesome.”
BOTH OF YOU HAVE VERY SIMILAR BACKGROUNDS AND THE ANNOUNCEMENTS WERE MADE ON THE SAME DAY. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR GUYS WHO HAVE TALENT BUT DON’T HAVE FUNDING, TO BE ABLE TO GET HERE ANYWAY?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “It just means it can be done. Everybody says the path or whatnot of how we got here may not have been ideal, but at the end of the day you did whatever you could with what you had. And, when you hear about things that can’t be done, I think today is a huge step in that direction to show that it can be. Hopefully it inspires some racers across the country to be able to continue to put one foot in front of the other and do the right things in life to hopefully align yourself with the right situation and know you’ve got to trust yourself in the decisions you’re making. And, if you do that, no matter how it shakes out, you’ll lay down at night knowing you gave everything you had. I think that’s what today is all about.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR ENTIRE ORGANIZATION LEFT A LITTLE BIT ON THE TABLE AS FAR AS GETTING DANIEL HIS FIRST XFINITY WIN AND THERE IS MORE TO UNLEASH OUT OF HIM IN XFINITY AND CUP?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “He will get his wins. And, I think it could happen here Sunday. His No. 8 car is really fast. He’s a great road racer. Don’t be surprised if we’re not sitting here Sunday afternoon. Write that down. We’re going to be trying. We’ve got three good cars out here. We could be here Sunday. That’s our plan. Saturday or Sunday because he’s running in the Saturday race as well and we’ve got three cars in it. Anybody can win this Roval. I’m just proud to have Daniel driving for us next year. He and I have had a lot of conversations. And I’ve talked to him as a friend and told him whatever we work through this thing to get where we are sitting here today, together. I’m just proud to be here and proud to be announcing he’s going to be our driver. I’ve known his family and some of his uncles and different guys. I remember them bringing up a postcard and showing it to me one day. We were hunting. And, they said hey, this is Daniel Hemric. You’d better watch him.”
WHAT WAS THE EMOTION LIKE WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE GOING TO DRIVE FULL TIME IN THE CUP SERIES?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “Well, you’ve probably been able to tell through my voice. It’s been pretty emotional. It was more, I hate to say a sigh of relief, but it’s like you put everything into something…just hoping there’s a turning point. And, that starts to turn over as you get your shot in the Trucks and Xfinity and then you kind of plateau because when you want to make that next step, it’s a totally different demand on yourself and your family and everybody. That’s financially invested, emotionally invested, and I think just being able to go through the last couple of months and trying to figure out what was next for me and what was going to be the right decision for myself. It was a matter of all that stuff leading to be able to make the decision to be able to sit here today. Yeah, I’m excited. It will set in probably as we move forward and get through this weekend and getting to the normality of regular week days. But, it’s been incredibly humbling to see the people that are reaching out. My phone will not stop as I’m sitting here right now. It’s going off. It’s a cool feeling to know that we have so many people supporting us and our organization and I look forward to having all that support behind us as we roll into 2019.”
YOU WILL ANNOUNCE SPONSORS AT A LATER DATE, BUT ARE YOU FULLY FUNDED FOR THIS CAR? ARE YOU STILL HUNTING FOR SPONSORSHIP? AND, WHEN YOU WERE WEIGHING WHAT DRIVERS TO PUT IN THE CAR, HOW MUCH DID SPONSORSHIP FACTOR INTO THAT DECISION?
TORREY GALIDA: “Yeah, we plan to lay all that out over the next several weeks. We have Caterpillar, of course, and we’re pretty confident that most of the rest of our partners that are on the No. 31 now will be back. We’ve got some other partners that have supported Daniel over the last few years that we feel like will be a part of the program now. So, we do have some pieces still left to put in place and we’ll lay that out over the next several weeks; hopefully before the end of the season. Sponsorship always is an important factor and comes into play. I’ve told several people that in the good old days, if you wanted to change drivers you could make one phone call and get approval and you’d be done. And today, it takes multiple conversations and multiple levels of approval.”
RICHARD CHILDRESS WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW IMPRESSIVE YOU’VE BEEN IN THE CUP CAR. IT’S INTERESTING TO SEE HOW QUICKLY IN JUST THE TWO STARTS YOU’VE HAD THAT YOU HAVE ADAPTED TO THE CUP CAR. WITHOUT GIVING AWAY ANY TRADE SECRETS, WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND THAT’S MADE YOU SO COMFORTABLE? WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR CHANCES ARE FOR SUNDAY?
DANIEL HEMRIC: “I feel like as far as being comfortable, I think it’s just treating it as a race car. I think not diving too far into it, at the end of the day you’ve got to treat it that way. And it’s no different than the way I’ve approached any next step in my career. I think to be able to do that and to understand some of the dynamics of the race cars and obviously having the track time here in my Xfinity car led to unloading with some speed in our No. 8 car over there with Smokey Mountain on board. Knowing that we were able to transition and just treat it like it is. I haven’t even looked at data or nothing there because I don’t want to mess myself up (laughs). So, it’s been a fun transition and obviously having speed makes it that much more fun. It’s a long weekend ahead for me, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’m having a good time enjoying the switch back and forth.”
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “I’d like to thank the press for working with us. I know a lot of different ones have asked me when we’re going to make the announcement. But, here we are today. We’ve made it. And I thank all the press for working with us all through this transition. Thank you.”
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