Hats on for XFINITY Series driver Daniel Hemric and new sponsor

As a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Daniel Hemric readily admits he’s never really been into wearing cowboy hats.

That changed Thursday when the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver visited The Best Hat Store in Fort Worth, Texas, and got fitted for a custom cowboy hat along with Dave Savoca, the president of Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and a new sponsor of Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

“It was really cool,” Hemric said. “It was an incredible experience. You go in there and this thing is in the shape of a hat, but they take it and mold it to your head and make it fit just perfect.”

Hemric went into Saturday’s XFINITY race at Texas Motor Speedway well aware that he could earn another cowboy hat by winning, as they’re given out to the victor in Victory Lane.

That would be a first for Hemric, who moved up to NASCAR’s second-tier series this season after running the previous two in the Camping World Truck Series.

He finished sixth in the Truck Series points standings a year ago, piling up 11 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 23 starts.

And he’s off to a decent start in his rookie XFINITY season. In the five races prior to Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300, Hemric registered two top-10 finishes and was seventh in the points with a respectable average finish of 14.2.

Hemric said he’s a big fan of NASCAR’s new stage racing, which has allowed him to pad his points total thus far.

“I am a fan of the stage racing because it has allowed our 14th-place average finish points-wise to be better overall than it would have been, if that makes sense,” Hemric said. “To maximize some of those stages and get those points has bettered our season total.

“But we’re definitely not satisfied with that average finish. I know as a company and as group, especially my 21 guys, we’ve performed a lot better than that in some races and haven’t gotten the finishes we should have.”

As for his suddenly new affinity for cowboy hats, Hemric said he hopes he’s just getting started collecting them after his Thursday experience at The Best Hat Store.

“I told them, ‘Man, if I’m getting a hat this early, that’s got to be a good omen.’” Hemric said. “I’m now a big fan of the hats and hopefully I can get another one (today).”