If the No. 8 was to return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time, it’s fitting that the driver would be from Kannapolis, North Carolina.
Daniel Hemric will carry the number on his Chevrolet Camaro during his rookie season in the MENCS. The 27-year-old joins a tradition of drivers from Kannapolis who have driven a car with the number 8.
Hemric made his MENCS debut during the 2018 season running the No. 8 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway in April and Charlotte Motor Speedway in September.
The No. 8 car holds a special place in the Earnhardt family when Ralph Earnhardt began driving the car in the 1950s around North Carolina short tracks. Later Dale Earnhardt made his first NASCAR start in a No. 8 car in 1975 and then even his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued the family tradition.
Hemric understands the history of the No. 8.
“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.”
The car will replace the No. 31 which had been a part of RCR since expanding to a two-car operation in 1997.
“Car numbers are a big part of NASCAR and it makes me proud to have two of the most historic numbers under the RCR banner for our 50th anniversary season,” said Childress. “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.
“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. We have a lot of longstanding partners supporting this program and we’re proud to carry each of their colors on the No. 8 Chevrolet throughout the year. I also want to welcome Cessna to the RCR family of partners.”
Hemric and the No. 8 team will have support from multiple primary partners throughout the 2019 MENCS season, including Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance and VF Workwear, all of whom return to Richard Childress Racing. Textron Aviation’s Cessna brand also joins RCR and the No. 8 program for 2019, with select primary races during the season.