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Daniel Hemric, a Kannapolis native, speaks to the media after winning the pole for the Monster Energy Open Friday.

CONCORD – Some of the best days of Daniel Hemric’s racing life have come at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the highlight being when he won the Legends Millions race here back in 2010, when he was still a teenage with dreams.

On Friday, the Kannapolis native might’ve eclipsed that moment, even though no money was involved.

At least not yet.

Hemric won the first pole of his Cup career Friday when he had the fastest car in qualifying for the Monster Energy Open. Hemric ran his Richard Childress Racing Camaro around the 1.5-mile track in 29.643 seconds at a speed of 182.168 mph.

Northwest Cabarrus High School product Bubba Wallace qualified 10th in the Open.

The Monster Energy Open takes place on Saturday at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on FS1. Each of the three stage winners of the 50-lap Monster Energy Open will move on the All-Star Race, in which the winner earns a $1 million payday. Another automatic spot will be determined by fan voting.

The All-Star Race goes green on Saturday at 8 p.m.

“Clear air is going to be so huge (for the Open),” Hemric said. “We’ve seen that all year. With that first stage being 20 laps and the next one being 20, you want to be on those front two rows, and so we checked that box. Any time you do something like that, especially doing it at home, it’s very special.”

Hemric, who’s in his second year on the Cup circuit, began his early racing days in go-karts at nearby Concord Speedway, and he grew in popularity racing Legends cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Summer Shootout Series. Meanwhile, he was always a fan of the Cup races here and often attended them with his family.

“I was telling everybody that I’ve watched these particular events around my hometown since I was a kid sitting on the other side of the grandstand,” Hemric said. “So it’s cool to come here and lead the green flag for the Open and hopefully get ourselves in the All-Star and have some fun.”

Until Friday, Hemric’s best starting position as a Cup driver was third, at the Gander RV Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

Hemric said the enormity of his accomplishment hit him as he entered the garage Friday after earning his first pole. He’ll never forget that he’s a small-town kid who’s gone from making a name for himself locally to slowly building it on racing’s highest level.

“I try to never lose sight of that, and I’m very thankful for what Charlotte Motor Speedway’s meant to myself and my family and for my career throughout the past 20-plus years,” Hemric said. “I know that sounds crazy coming out of my mouth, but I ran here at Charlotte Motor Speedway on race tracks that are not even here anymore. There used to be a dirt go-kart track right behind here that’s no longer in existence. I used to race on it, raced on asphault. I grew up racing inside of this facility, and I never lose sight of that when I’m going through that tunnel. “To do this for the first time, knowing that we’re trying to get ourselves into the All-Star Race in that Cup car, that’s what dreams are made of. It’s living proof that it can be done.

I’m very thankful for all the lessons this place has taught me over the years, both good and bad. It’s kind of molded me into the man and the racer I am today. It’s definitely been a cool weekend so far.”

While speaking with the media after qualifying, Hemric was asked about what used to be the biggest night of his racing life – when he won the Legends Millions here as a 19-year-old.

“Someone asked me, ‘Isn’t this the place you won the million dollars?’” Hemric said. “I said, ‘Well, it was actually $250,000, and I thought after that night I’d never have to work again. But here I am.’

“It was cool to kind of reflect on that stuff, and a lot of people stuck with me through those times. And a lot of them are still here with me today. That’s what it’s all about: sharing that journey.”

Clint Bowyer took the pole for the All-Star Race, with Kyle Busch qualifying second. Kevin Harvick was third.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN

Qualifying

1 Daniel Hemric

2 Michael McDowell

3 William Byron

4 Daniel Suarez

5 Paul Menard

6 Alex Bowman

7 Kyle Larson

8 Chris Buescher

9 David Ragan

10 Bubba Wallace

11 Ryan Preece

12 Matt DiBenedetto

13 Matt Tifft

14 Ty Dillon

15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

16 Corey LaJoie

17 Landon Cassill

18 Ross Chastain

19 BJ McLeod

20 Bayley Currey

21 Cody Ware

22 Timmy Hill

23 Quin Houff

24 Josey Gase

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Clint Bowyer will start from the pole position in Saturday's All-Star Race.

ALL-STAR RACE

Qualifying

1 Clint Bowyer

2 Kyle Busch

3 Kevin Harvick

4 Austin Dillon

5 Martin Truex Jr.

6 Ryan Newman

7 Erik Jones

8 Jimmie Johnson

9 Ryan Blaney

10 Joe Logano

11 Chase Elliott

12 Denny Hamlin

13 Aric Amirola

14 Brad Keselowski

15 Kurt Busch

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