Shane Hmiel

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Shane Hmiel
Born (1980-05-15) May 15, 1980 (age 34)
Pleasant Garden, North Carolina
Awards 2001 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
7 race(s) run over 2 year(s)
Best finish 51st - 2004
First race 2004 Pop Secret 500 (California)
Last race 2005 Food City 500 (Bristol)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
83 race(s) run over 4 year(s)
Best finish 15th - 2003
First race 2002 EAS / GNC Live Well 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2005 Carquest Auto Parts 300 (Charlotte)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 23 4
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
29 race(s) run over 2 year(s)
Best finish 13th - 2004
First race 2004 Florida Dodge Dealers 250 (Daytona)
Last race 2005 UAW-GM Ohio 250 (Mansfield)
First win 2004 Las Vegas 350 (Las Vegas)
Last win 2004 Las Vegas 350 (Las Vegas)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 12 0

Shane Hmiel (born May 15, 1980, in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina) is a former American racecar driver. He was paralyzed in a near fatal racing accident on October 9, 2010. He is the son of Steve Hmiel, former NASCAR crew chief and current Competition Director for Swan Racing.

Racing career[edit]

NASCAR career[edit]

Hmiel was one of the more controversial drivers in NASCAR, failing three separate drug tests and ultimately being (at the time) banned for life.

In 2001, he was the Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series, with two wins and 13 top-10 finishes, finishing fifth in points.

In 2002 and 2003, he was a Busch Series competitor. Hmiel's best NASCAR effort came at Indianapolis Raceway Park in August 2003, where he won the pole, led the most laps and staged a very competitive battle with Brian Vickers. Vickers won, and Hmiel finished fourth. However, in September 2003, he was suspended indefinitely for failing a drug test (see below).

He was reinstated in 2004 and was picked up by Craftsman Truck Series owner Billy Ballew Motorsports, a Busch ride with Braun Racing and a Cup ride with Bill Davis Racing. He was in a series of commercials with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. during the early part of the 2005 NASCAR season that dealt with his title sponsor WinFuel multivitamins.

In his return to the Busch Series, he got into a very heated incident with Dale Jarrett during the Sharpie 250 at Bristol. When Jarrett leaned into Hmiel's window to question why Hmiel had spun him out, Hmiel flipped the middle finger toward Jarrett that were captured live on national television (especially the finger gesture pointed at Jarrett). Hmiel was fined $10,000 USD and docked 25 points in the standings for the incident.

Hmiel failed a drug test at Dover in 2005, and was escorted from the garage by NASCAR officials. After failing a third drug test in early 2006, Hmiel was banned from NASCAR for life, which would be partially lifted in 2012 (see below).

During his four-year NASCAR career, Hmiel appeared in seven Nextel Cup races, 83 Busch races, and 29 Truck Series races. He had one win: in the Truck Series' Las Vegas 350 in 2004.

Substance abuse test[edit]

According to NASCAR's substance abuse policy, NASCAR is allowed to administer drug tests, based only on "reasonable suspicion", at the sanctioning body's sole discretion.[1]

Hmiel violated NASCAR's substance abuse policy when he tested positive for marijuana in September 2003.[1] At the time, he was the highest-profile driver to fail such a test. Hmiel was suspended until January 2004, then reinstated; however in 2005 he failed a second test, testing positive for marijuana and cocaine, and was suspended "indefinitely" starting in May 2005.[1] Hmiel was offered a chance at reinstatement after his second infraction, under condition that he submit to medical and psychological reviews, and frequent drug testing before reinstatement. In February, 2006, Hmiel failed a drug test, and was permanently suspended.[1] He stated on WindTunnel with Dave Despain on April 4, 2010, over four years since, that his ban was the best thing that's happened to him.[citation needed]

Hmiel was not paid his 2005 salary for races prior to the suspension, as Braun Racing alleged that Hmiel signed the contract in bad faith due to health concerns.[citation needed] Under oath, Hmiel admitted that he violated NASCAR's substance abuse policy with a positive test for marijuana in 2003 and a positive test for marijuana and cocaine in 2005. Hmiel denied he was using drugs on a regular basis (at least once a week) in 2005. Hmiel denied that he'd tested positive for heroin at any time from 2003 to 2005, and testified that he was not under the influence of any drug at any time while he was racing.[2] The disposition of the lawsuit is unknown.

Open-wheel racing and redemption[edit]

After rehabilitation from drug addiction and three-years-sober, Hmiel competed in all three national touring divisions of the United States Auto Club in the USAC Silver Crown Series, the USAC National Sprint Car Series, and the USAC National Midget Series.

In 2009, Hmiel earned his first USAC-sanctioned win in the Sprint Car division at Iowa Speedway and scored a then-career-best dirt track finish of second in the Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway. Hmiel earned post-season honors as USAC's "Most Improved Driver." He was also named the Rookie of the Year in the 2009 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 2010, he earned his first career Midget Series victory at Hickory Motor Speedway less than an hour from Mooresville, North Carolina, where he currently resides. The momentum from that victory carried on to other divisions. In the Sprint Car division, he broke the world speed record for a non-winged Sprint Car at Iowa Speedway, winning the pole with an average speed of 146.444 miles per hour. In addition the speed record, he earned three victories, all on pavement, at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis (twice) and Salem Speedway. In the Silver Crown division, he earned his first career series win and first dirt track win in the Hoosier Hundred race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. During the season Hmiel became the first driver to win the Hoosier 100, Rich Vogler Classic, and Pat O'Connor Memorial, the three premier USAC midget-car races, in the same season.[1]

He was slated to make his Firestone Indy Lights debut at Chicagoland Speedway for the Chicagoland 100 on August 28, 2010, but a back injury kept him from competing in the race.

Accident, paralysis, and recovery[edit]

While qualifying for a USAC Silver Crown race, Hmiel's car crashed at the Terre Haute Action Track on October 9, 2010.[1] The roll cage collapsed after hitting the retaining wall. He was airlifted to Methodist Hospital with head, back, and neck injuries. Shortly after arriving, he was in critical but stable condition after having been put into a medically induced coma to minimize brain swelling.[1] Hmiel was paralyzed as a result of his injuries; Hmiel has since regained limited use of his limbs, but continues to require the use of a wheelchair.[1]

Post-racing career[edit]

While in recovery from the aforementioned 2010 crash, Hmiel started a new USAC midget car team, partnering with former series champion Levi Jones. Nearly two years after the accident, Hmiel was allowed back into a NASCAR garage for the first time since the 2006 ban, as a guest of Billy Ballew Motorsports and the crew chief, Nick Harrison (who had worked with Hmiel in the past) at Atlanta Motor Speedway, watching as Kurt Busch raced the same truck that Hmiel had raced in 2004 (bringing the team its first ever win) raced that weekend to a top-10 finish.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Nextel Cup Series[edit]

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Smith, Marty (November 24, 2012). "Broken body, repaired soul". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  2. ^ Hmiel admits to positive tests for marijuana, cocaine

External links[edit]