MOORESVILLE, NC (August 26, 2004) --Shane Hmiel in the Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado had his best start and finish at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday evening. Hmiel qualified fourth for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly...
MOORESVILLE, NC (August 26, 2004) --Shane Hmiel in the Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado had his best start and finish at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday evening. Hmiel qualified fourth for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 200. He overcame a pit stop penalty to finish second at the 'World's Fastest Half Mile'.
"It was a great run for us tonight," Hmiel said. "I really thought I had a truck that could win right from the start. At the beginning of the race, I let Kevin (Harvick) and a couple other guys go by 'cause I knew they were going to run a little harder then I was. I wanted to save my stuff."
Hmiel using pit stop strategy early in the race, stayed out while the leaders pitted, advancing him to the lead from his third place position. Hmiel held the lead until a mix up occurred. A snafu in team communication occurred and Hmiel was not advised that pit road was open, therefore forcing him to pit with the lap down trucks dropping him from first position to 20th. To only compound matters, Hmiel had to return to the pits due to a loose lug nut. This dropped the No. 15 Earl Small's Harley-Davidson Silverado from the lead to the 25th position for the restart. Hmiel made a gallant effort and rocketed through the pack and took over the second position.
"You know these guys really work hard and hey, I'm the first one to say I make mistakes," Hmiel said. "I've crashed the truck and lost races for the team. It happens. When we pitted, others didn't and I was 25th. I went back out on the track and drove it back to second. Ritchie and the guys at the shop built an exceptional truck for this race. Together with the powerhouse under the hood, I was able to get us back up front."
Hmiel in second place when the final caution occurred on lap 198 when Mike Skinner and Dennis Setzer got together and spun in turn two. The finish of the race was to be determined by a green/white/checkered flag.
"It's not that I hate green/white checkered finishes," said Hmiel. "I love it for the fans but I hate it as a driver. People get crazy with all their adrenalin and stuff. I knew one thing; that I was going to bring home for the Billy Ballew team a win or a second place finish."
Hmiel and Edwards were ready for the two lap shootout. But Edwards truck was able to maintain the lead and take the win by only a margin of .306 seconds. This is Hmiel's closest margin to victory in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"We didn't have anything for Carl," Hmiel said. "We used our tires up passing all those trucks to get up there. I have a lot of respect for Carl and I commend him for coming from the back and winning the race. The only way I could have gotten him was if we have roughed each other up. I didn't want to beat and bang up each others trucks. Carl is an excellent driver and had the better truck today. We'll be bringing this race truck to Richmond."
The next NASCAR Craftsman Truck series race is not until September 9th at Richmond International Raceway. Hmiel during the break will still be busy racing. A rainout of the Super Late Model Blizzard race last weekend in Pensacola, Florida sends Hmiel and crew chief and All Pro Cup team owner, Ritchie Wauters back down south. Hmiel will sit on the outside pole for the Friday nights event at Five Flags Speedway. Labor Day weekend brings no rest for Hmiel. He is racing in the No. 23 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car for Bill Davis Racing Sunday, September 5th in California.