Beating Around the Busch: Chapter Sixteen, Milwaukee Mile By: Thomas Chemris Busch driver Shane Hmiel will make his Winston Cup debut next week at the Daytona International Speedway. Driving for Petty enterprises, Hmiel will attempt to qualify...
Beating Around the Busch: Chapter Sixteen, Milwaukee Mile
By: Thomas Chemris
Busch driver Shane Hmiel will make his Winston Cup debut next week at the Daytona International Speedway. Driving for Petty enterprises, Hmiel will attempt to qualify the famed number 43 Cheerios Dodge. The opportunity for Hmiel opened up after Petty enterprises released John Andretti, placing Christian Fittipaldi in the car. Fittipaldi had previously committed to run a third Petty car at Daytona, leaving the 43 open.
"We are very excited to have a young talent like Shane Hmiel drive the #43 for us at Daytona," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "George deBidart and Innovative Motorsports were very gracious in allowing us to 'borrow' Shane for this event. They have a tremendous program there, so I know Shane will be used to what he sees on the Winston Cup side of the fence."
Hmiel finished eighteenth at Milwaukee, and is currently eleventh in series points.
Ron Hornaday marked his ninety-ninth starts in NASCARS Busch series at the Milwaukee Mile. Hornaday Has eight starts at the famous one-mile track - six in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and two in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS). In those eight races, Hornaday claimed 1 win, 5 top-fives and eight top-10's. Hornaday ran strong, running in the lead, but was moved back in the field after he got together with Shane Hmiel. Hornaday charged back to finish forth.
Chad Blount returned to the series along with Jesel Racing. Blount, who started the season with Braun Racing, was released earlier this year, returned in a one-race deal with Jesel Racing and the Miller Brewing Company. Jesel Racing fielded two cars in 2002 with drivers Hank Parker Jr, and Casey Mears, but shut down the teams due to sponsorship issues. Blount's return was supported Penske Racing at the encouragement of Blount's childhood friend, Penske Driver Ryan Newman. Blount struggled early, and mechanical problems dropped him to finish a disappointing fortieth.
Also returning, were veterans Derrick Cope and former CART champion Jimmy Vasser. Both drivers were never a factor finishing thirtieth, and twenty- fifth respectively.
Many drivers have voiced concerns that there are less competitive teams making the fields for Busch competitions. One solution that has been suggested was to lower the number of cars allowed in the field, Milwaukee race winner, Jason Keller of PPC racing recently responded to this concept.
"When I started it were thirty-four or thirty-six cars in the starting field. It was actually fewer cars, and it was tougher to make the race. I think that made me, in some sense, a better driver because I had to go faster to get in the race. I had to push it a little bit more to get in the race. But, I did miss some races early in my career. There just doesn't need to be such a large gap from the fastest qualifier to the last qualifier.
Milwaukee marked the last event that Monster.com sponsored the Jackson/Herzog entry driven by Todd Bodine. The team has fought finical trouble all season, and although they have obtained funding for Daytona, this team will suspend operations if a sponsor cannot be found after the Florida event. Bodine currently sits third in the point's race, eighty markers behind leader David Green,