Darlington, SC (November 13, 2004) - What looked like a guaranteed top finish was lost for Shane Hmiel and Team TRIMSPA on Saturday when a flat right front tire forced an unscheduled pit stop. Hmiel started the BI-LO 200 in the 15th position when...
Darlington, SC (November 13, 2004) - What looked like a guaranteed top finish was lost for Shane Hmiel and Team TRIMSPA on Saturday when a flat right front tire forced an unscheduled pit stop. Hmiel started the BI-LO 200 in the 15th position when qualifying was rained out and the field was set by Busch Series owner points.
"The TRIMSPA team has not really had the finishes we are looking for in these first three races together," said Hmiel. "But each week we have had competitive cars. This weekend, the car was so good that we feel like it could have won."
At the drop of the green Hmiel rocketed through the field up eleven spots to fourth position by his first pit stop on lap 51. With a loose handling condition mended by a slight wedge adjustment, Hmiel moved into the third position on lap 67 just a couple of car lengths behind the leader. But, misfortune struck Team TRIMSPA once again as a flat right front tire forced an unscheduled pit stop on lap 68.
"We just need to get all of this bad luck out of the way this season," said Hmiel. "I am really optimistic about next season, especially considering how fast my cars have been these last three races."
Hmiel rejoined the race one lap down in the 32nd position. With 25 laps to go Hmiel had climbed to the 22nd spot and had taken control of the coveted lucky dog position. Despite running lap times quicker than the leaders, hope was fading for Hmiel to get his lap back without a caution. The closing laps of the BI-LO 200 were raced caution free as Hmiel soldiered on to a 22nd-place finish.
"We had a great car but just no luck," said Hmiel. "Now I am just anxious to get down to Homestead. Not to say anything bad about the Dodges, but we will be racing a new Chevy with a DEI engine next weekend for the first time and I just can't wait."
Next weekend's race is the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, November 20th. The event will be televised live at 1 p.m. eastern time on NBC and broadcast nationally at that same time on radio stations affiliated with MRN and XM Satellite Radio Channel 144.