Brad Keselowski Racing Homestead-Miami Speedway Post-Race Report
No. 19. Draw-Tite Ford F-150
Daniel Hemric (@DanielHemric) closed out his tenure with Brad Keselowski Racing with a top-five finish at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hemric rallied from an 18th-place starting position and overcame tight handling to run in the top 10 for much of the night, ultimately crossing the finish line in the fifth position.
Hemric closed out his season in the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 sixth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver points and fifth in the owner point standings with a total of 11 top fives, 17 top 10s, an average finish of 8.6 and 119 laps led.
After earning a disappointing 18th-place starting position, Hemric jumped up to the 12th position just two laps after taking the green flag. Reporting to crew chief Chad Kendrick that his truck was too tight overall and he was “driving the right-front tire off,” Hemric had his first opportunity to visit pit road when the caution flag was displayed on lap 15. The Brad Keselowski Racing crew provided Hemric with four tires, fuel and both track-bar and air-pressure adjustments, earning him three spots on pit road.
Scored in the ninth position when green-flag racing resumed on lap 20, Hemric cracked the top five on lap 25. Searching around the racetrack for the best line for his handling, Hemric found that his truck was tighter on the top of the racetrack than the bottom. When a spin brought out the yellow on lap 43, Hemric, now running sixth, was once again called to pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments before returning to the track in eighth.
Hemric was running seventh at the Ford EcoBoost 200′s halfway point, but was still struggling with the handling of his Draw-Tite machine. The third caution of the day came on lap 84, and Hemric stated that he could manage running the bottom better that run, but that his handling was worse overall in speed. Kendrick made the call for four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, and Hemric restarted from the ninth position.
Hectic, three-wide racing resulted in Hemric dropping to the 13th position immediately after the lap-88 restart, but the Draw-Tite Ford methodically moved up through the pack over the course of the run, reaching the sixth position before the final yellow of the day on lap 111. Hemric stated that the changes made on the previous run were exactly what he needed, and when it came time to make the final pit stop of 2016, the BKR crew opted for four tires, fuel and a small air-pressure adjustment for one final tweak. Restarting sixth with 19 laps remaining, Hemric gained one final position in the closing laps, crossing the finish line in the fifth position.
Daniel Hemric – No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150: “Tonight was a testament to not giving up. We qualified 18th and fought all night, but our truck had a lot more speed than what we expected it to have after qualifying. Just like all year, our mile-and-a-half program showed to be really stout. I’m glad that we could finish off the year with a top five; I’m frustrated that we couldn’t a win for these guys, but tonight was a solid effort for both BKR trucks. Thank you to Brad Keselowski, everyone at BKR, Draw-Tite, Blue Gate Bank, and everyone who has supported me throughout my career to get me to this point. I appreciate BKR and our sponsors supporting us all year in our efforts to chase wins and a championship. I hate that we came up short and weren’t able to notch a victory, but I’ve had a lot of fun and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.”
Chad Kendrick – Crew Chief, No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150: “Tonight was bittersweet for us as a team. We’re really proud that we were able to secure another top-five finish and continue to show the strength of our mile-and-a-half program, but we’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t get the win. Daniel has been a tremendous asset to our team, both as a driver and in the hard work, energy and passion he’s brought to our program. I wish we could have gotten a win together, but we ran really well all year and I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a team.”
No. 29 Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150
Excellent work by the Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans pit crew spurred Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) to a second-place finish in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race Friday night at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
Reddick claimed his eighth top-five finish of the 2016 season and clinched ninth place in the final driver championship standings. The No. 29 Ford F-150 chassis that Reddick piloted at Homestead racked up its third top-five finish (including a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 1) in four starts since debuting at Chicagoland (Joliet, Ill.) Speedway (race No. 16).
Reddick started seventh and slipped back to 11th place during the opening run of the race – thanks to a very loose-handling Ford F-150 truck. The first caution on lap 15 of the 134-lap race gave Reddick the chance to pit for four tires and a major chassis adjustment, and he lined up eighth when the green flag waved on lap 20.
Almost immediately, the handling condition improved on Reddick’s No. 29 Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150. He picked off four positions on the restart and held firm to fourth place until the second caution waved on lap 43. He pitted on lap 44 and lightning quick work gave Reddick the lead on lap 45.
Reddick held the top spot for the next three laps, but as the run wore on, his truck became more and more tight. He fell in line in eighth place and did a good job managing his handling condition until the third caution on lap 84 gave him and crew chief Doug Randolph a chance to make adjustments. Reddick pitted on lap 85 for four tires and adjustments and lined up seventh for the restart on lap 88.
Reddick made the most of the adjustments and fresh tires. He cut through traffic on the restart and was up to third place by lap 93. As the race entered its final quarter, Reddick was closing in on the leaders at the time of the final caution on lap 111, setting up one more round of four-tire stops for the leaders.
With the race on the line, the No. 29 pit crew delivered one of their fastest stops of the season, giving Reddick the lead on lap 112. He held the lead through the restart on lap 115 and briefly scooted away from the field. But as the laps ticked away, William Byron began to slowly close in on Reddick. On lap 125, Reddick lost the lead to his rival, and though he made a valiant effort over the final 10 laps, he couldn’t chase down his competitor, scoring a second-place finish.
Tyler Reddick – No. 29 Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150: “At the end of the race, I should have focused more on running better lap times for myself instead of trying to slow his [William Byron] laps down. That worked well for a couple of laps and I was able to stall his momentum a little bit, but he got a run on me and made the pass. I was really happy at the start of that run, but just needed for it to be a little longer. The Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans pit crew deserves a raise, because we wouldn’t have had a shot at winning if it wasn’t for their awesome pit stops. We had a lot of fun this year. We were still very fast at times, but just couldn’t capitalize on those moments to win as many races as we would have liked.”
Doug Randolph – Crew Chief, No. 29 Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150: “Our Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans pit crew had an awesome performance tonight and put us in position to win the race. They’ve gotten better and better every race this season, but they’re really excelled over the past couple of months. This was a new group this year and they have worked really, really hard all year. It seemed like we were back and forth with our setup, but that’s just part of keeping up with the racetrack. When we hit it, Tyler was really fast and we were really good at the end of the race when it counted most.”