It’s no secret, the most diehard, loyal and true fan base for NASCAR is in the southeast. Nothing against any other region in the great United States, but when you think of NASCAR, you think of the southeast. Rightfully so too, that’s where NASCAR got it’s start. From North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, you name it, that’s NASCAR country.
While NASCAR has greatly tried to expand it’s reach since the mid 1990s, the southeast market has been the most affected. From drivers coming from all over the US now, to race tracks showing up in California, Texas, Nevada, New Hampshire, and elsewhere, the south has lost tracks, drivers and their roots.
Well, two of the four NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers in the Championship 4 are still holding onto their roots. They will have a ton of backing in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 (3:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN).
Both William Byron and Daniel Hemric will make an attempt to become just the second rookie in series history to come away with the XFINITY Series championship. Chase Elliott did so in 2014. Elliott, was a Georgia native, something the south embraced. But, both Byron and Hemric are North Carolina natives.
If Byron or Hemric wins this season’s title, they would become just the sixth series champion from the state of North Carolina, joining Austin Dillon (2013 champion, from Welcome, N.C.), Brian Vickers (2003, Thomasville, N.C.), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998, 1999, Kannapolis, N.C.), Jack Ingram (1985, 1982, Asheville, N.C.) and Sam Ard (1983, 1984, Asheboro, N.C.).
Byron, is a Charlotte native while Hemric is from Earnhardt Country in Kannapolis.
For Byron, at the age of 19, he has the chance to become the second-youngest champion in NASCAR national series history at the age of 19 years, 11 months and 20 days; behind record-holder Chase Elliott, who won the series title at the age of 18 years, 11 months, 18 days.
Byron, is the only one of the four playoff drivers left to have won a playoff race as he took his No. 9 Chevrolet to victory lane last weekend in Phoenix.
Hemric, has yet to win a race this year, but is the first NASCAR XFINITY Series driver from Richard Childress Racing to make the Championship 4 since its inception last season. Richard Childress Racing has won four NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championships (second-most) with Austin Dillon (2013), Clint Bowyer (2008) and Kevin Harvick (2001, 2006).
Also, Elliott Sadler is in the Championship 4 and he hails from Virginia. Only Justin Allgaier (Illinois) is the only finalist not from the south in the series.