GM Racing and The Bondurant School Develop Future NASCAR Stars
Hmiel, Menard and Moore Learn Road Racing Skills from Bondurant, Fellows
DETROIT -- GM Racing and The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving graduated three new racing drivers from the Advanced Road Racing class in December. Young NASCAR stars from Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) including Shane Hmiel, Paul Menard and Ryan Moore completed the two-day road racing school under the supervision of legendary racer Bob Bondurant, Bondurant's Chief Instructor Mike McGovern and Corvette Racing factory driver and Le Mans champion Ron Fellows. GM supports and leverages Bondurant's world-class racing facility by training its professional drivers amongst a variety of disciplines. GM's impressive lineup of performance vehicles is used at The Bondurant School, including the Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac CTS and Pontiac GTO.
"GM has all the tools and training staff to develop current and future NASCAR stars," said Doug Fehan, program manager for Corvette Racing. "There is an unparalleled level of depth in our GM Racing driver lineup, which allows cross-training among championship drivers for different types of competition. It provides a great opportunity for someone like Corvette driver Ron Fellows to pass along that racing experience and knowledge to our future champions."
Over the intense two-day program, Bondurant and Fellows oversaw the three NASCAR stars spend over six hours each day on the track, improving in all areas of race technique. The curriculum included heel and toe downshifting, off-line passing, qualifying techniques, reading multiple track configurations and late braking. Since Fellows' graduation from Bondurant's program nearly twenty years ago, the GM Racing driver has achieved success in endurance sports car racing, including landmark victories at Le Mans and Daytona, and in NASCAR competition.
"GM's young NASCAR drivers did a great job and they really learned a lot over these two days," said Fellows. "The biggest things they learned were new footwork techniques for heel-toe downshifting. Road racing requires multiple downshifts and that transitioning requires a different sort of thinking. These guys are all great racers and with this additional instruction, they will be in great shape for the two road races on their calendars."
Shane Hmiel, who made waves in 2004 with an impressive victory at Las Vegas in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will move to the Busch Series in 2005.
"I've been turning left for a long time and I'm just now learning how to turn right," said Hmiel. "Ron Fellows is one of the best road racing drivers in the world and to sit in the Corvette and drive with him makes me realize where I'm losing time on the track. I'm learning how to be more consistent on these tracks and it should pay off at Mexico and Watkins Glen."
Ryan Moore, NASCAR Busch North Series Rookie of the Year in 2003, said that new skills developed during his time at The Bondurant School will be helpful for the two Busch road races in 2005. Moore will run a limited schedule in the Busch Series in 2005 with DEI.
"The heel-toe method of downshifting and braking was the most difficult thing for me to learn but it was also the most useful on a road course," said Moore. "One of the best things about our seat time in these Corvettes is that I've learned to look ahead on the race track. I'm really honored and excited to be associated with the GM Racing team and to be able to talk to Ron Fellows and get his feedback is real asset."
The 2005 NASCAR season kicks off in February at Daytona International Speedway.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs about 325,000 people globally. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 192 countries. In 2003, GM sold nearly 8.6 million cars and trucks, about 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's corporate website at www.gm.com.