Hmiel Looks To Master Michigan
MOORESVILLE, NC (July 26, 2004) -- As Shane Hmiel heads off to Michigan International Speedway for the running of the LINE-X 200 this weekend he returns to familiar territory. Hmiel has raced there prior in the NASCAR Busch Series finishing 9th last year. Hmiel is looking forward to taking his experience and using it in his No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.
"It's one of the best tracks where you can really run four wide," Shane Hmiel said. "It's a fast track and I really enjoy the place. It's great racing from start to finish and I'm looking forward to bringing home a good finish for the team and the fans."
Billy Ballew Motorsports is having its best season of its existence and credits not only the driving ability of Hmiel but also the stellar efforts of crew chief Ritchie Wauters. Wauters has overseen a transformation that has put the No. 15 at the front of the pack virtually every week.
"The strength of the team has pulled us together," Hmiel commented. "Although we haven't won a race yet, in my mind, the way Billy Ballew and the team has come together it already makes me a winner. It's definitely an all for one situation and I'm proud to be a part of the experience. We are a low budget team running as well as we can. It's hard to compete against some other teams with 5 million dollar budgets but we are doing it and keeping right up with them."
Wauters too is verging on his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win as a Crew Chief. Winning is nothing new to Wauters who has had much success winning as a team owner in the NASCAR All Pro Series and as crew chief in the ASA Series.
"We built this team from the ground up in January," team owner Billy Ballew said. "Ritchie and I have worked together in the past and I knew if anyone had the potential to put a winning team together, it would be him. He has done a tremendous job. He has handpicked a group of dedicated individuals who not only work in the shop all week but play double duty as the pit crew at the race track. I'm really proud of what this team has accomplished this year. This our best season ever. This teams less then a year old and we are out there running up front with teams that have won Championships together. How could I not be proud?"
Both Billy Ballew and Shane Hmiel are often asked what they will say in victory lane when they get their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win. For Ballew, he'd rather wait until it happens and think of something then. Perhaps there is a bit of superstition with both owner and driver.
"I've thought about it about three races this year," Hmiel explained. "You get so close and think 'man I can get this one!" and you loose it. I am done thinking about that. You'll know when I win. When the smoke is done boiling off the tires, you'll know I've won."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors battle for the win in the LINE-X 200 at Michigan International Speedway, Saturday July 10th. The race will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel, XM Satellite Radio and MRN Radio at 1:00 p.m. ET.