NASCAR: No. 11 car will need a new driver for the playoffs

Daniel Hemric, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Daniel Hemric, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Following Daniel Hemric’s move, Kaulig Racing’s plans for their No. 11 Chevrolet remain unconfirmed for the upcoming NASCAR Xfintiy Series playoffs.

With the No. 10 Kaulig Racing team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series owner playoffs and the No. 11 Kaulig Racing team likely out, Matt Kaulig’s team have made the decision to move Daniel Hemric, the full-time driver of the No. 11 Chevrolet, to the No. 10 Chevrolet for the three-round, seven-race postseason.

Hemric himself is locked into the playoffs, but on the owner side, his No. 11 team find themselves in a must-win situation heading into the regular season finale at Kansas Speedway.

The reason for this is the fact that multiple cars, including the No. 10 Chevrolet, which don’t have full-time drivers are locked into the owner playoffs.

A.J. Allmendinger won twice behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, while Kyle Larson won once.

However, these two drivers are full-time Cup Series drivers, so their wins don’t count toward the No. 10 team’s playoff eligibility. But the team is still locked in on points.

And since full-time Cup Series drivers with more than three seasons of experience are ineligible to compete in Xfinity Series playoff races, it makes more sense to move Hemric to the championship-eligible No. 10 team for the playoffs, rather than having a playoff driver compete for a No. 11 team that cannot advance.

Despite having just one win in 178 career starts, Hemric’s playoff experience speaks for itself. In three of his previous four playoff appearances, he has advanced all the way to the Championship 4 even without winning a race. He won the 2021 championship for Joe Gibbs Racing with a victory in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

Clearly Kaulig Racing see the upside of moving Hemric, who himself can still win the championship, to an entry that can also still win the championship.

Hemric is set to move to the No. 10 Chevrolet a race early, with Derek Kraus set to drive the No. 11 Chevrolet in the regular season finale at Kansas. It will be interesting to see what happens if Kraus happens to win this race to lock the No. 11 team into the owner playoffs.

Alas, it’s an unlikely scenario, and as of now, Kaulig Racing have yet to confirm who will drive the No. 11 Chevrolet in any of the seven playoff races.

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Kaulig Racing’s other entry, the No. 16 Chevrolet, is also already locked into the playoffs. Full-time driver Chandler Smith won at Richmond Raceway back in April to secure himself and the team a spot.