Race Car Driver Shane Hmiel was critically injured during qualifications for a U.S. Auto Racing Club race in Terre Haute, Ind. on October 9th. The 30-year-old was airlifted to a hospital where he has been put into a medically induced coma and is in critical condition. Race car driving is never safe, but he’s been a daredevil on and off the track. He has had his battles with drugs and a family name to uphold. Here are 7 things about the life and times of Shane Hmiel.
• Racing was in his blood. His family life was all about the cars. His father Steve Hmiel is a former NASCAR crew chief and current Competition Director for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.
• He was on the road to greatness. In 2001 he was named the Rookie of the Year at the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series.
• In 2002 and in 2003 he hit the pro circuit with runs in the Busch Series with some great races in 2003 especially at Indianapolis Raceway Park. But in September of that year he was suspended for failing a drug test with marijuana being detected in his system.
• In 2004 he was reinstated and got sponsorship, he even starred in a series of commercials with Dale Earnhardt Jr..
• Shane Hmiel has a temper too, during his return to the Busch Series he got into an argument with Dale Jarrett and made “obscene gestures” towards him, that just happened to get captured live on national television…oops! Hmiel was fined $10,000 and lost some points.
• In 2005 he failed another drug test when at Dover, testing positive for marijuana and cocaine, NASCAR officials escorted him from his garage. He was given another chance to get clean with the requirement that he go for medical and psychological observations and more drug testing. But in 2006 he failed yet another drug test and he was ultimately banned from NASCAR for life.
• But he isn’t bitter, he said in April of this year that the ban was the best thing that ever happened to him.
• He is now apparently three-years sober and competes in a variety of national touring divisions and has since been winning honors and accolades. And he also c0-hosts the show racing show Three Wide Life.
Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery. Our thoughts go out to his family, they certainly have been through a lot.