Daniel Hemric named 2019 Cup Series Rookie of the Year

Daniel Hemric may be making a return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series after only a single season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as team owner Richard Childress replaces him behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet by Tyler Reddick, the two-time reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, for 2020.

But Hemric will make his return to the Xfinity Series as the reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year. After a 12th-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Hemric was named the top Cup Series rookie of 2019.

"I'm glad we were able to at least rally and at least stay committed to the path of bringing the best piece possible to Homestead, Hemric said. "Those guys could have just said, ‘Hey, we've got a car built already with a different body; we'll come down here and see what happens,' but that's not what they did. I hate to whine about that, but I just wish we had a little better fair shake at it, but that's life. Not going to cry about it; not going to lose sleep about it, but that's just part of it.”

Hemric came out on top in a rookie class that also included Matt Tifft, whose season was cut short by a health issue, and Ryan Preece. Hemric finished the season 25th in the overall driver standings after one top-five and two top-10 finishes in 36 races with a best finish of fifth at Talladega Superspeedway.

"Yeah, it's pretty special to say the least,” Hemric said. "I wish we were able to win Rookie-of-the-Year and have a couple more solid finishes throughout the year than what we had, but about five or six years ago, myself and Preece, somehow, ended up tied with four or five races to go, so we knew we had to buckle down. And really proud of this group for doing that.”

Preece's season stats were similar to Hemric's. Preece was 26th in the driver standings at season's end. Like Hemric he also had a top-five finish, a third, also coming at Talladega. Preece did better Hemric, though, in top-10 finishes with three.

Hemric is slated to run 21 Xfinity Series races for JR Motorsports next season.