BUSCH: Fontana: Shane Hmiel race notes

SHANE HMIEL CHARGES THROUGH THE FIELD TO FINISH THIRD LOS ANGELES, CA (Feb. 27, 2005) -- Shane Hmiel and the Braun Racing/WINFUEL team started off the day strong by laying down a fast lap and qualifying fifth for the Stater Bros....

SHANE HMIEL CHARGES THROUGH THE FIELD TO FINISH THIRD

LOS ANGELES, CA (Feb. 27, 2005) -- Shane Hmiel and the Braun Racing/WINFUEL team started off the day strong by laying down a fast lap and qualifying fifth for the Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway.

Problems started when Hmiel tried to fire the car at the start of the race, and instead discovered that the battery was dead. The Braun team quickly changed the battery and got Hmiel out on the track in time to start the race from the back of the pack. "Someone left the master switch on after we qualified, and we had to change the battery during the pace laps," Hmiel explained.

Shane Hmiel charged his way to the front of the field reaching the top-20 by lap 10, and sitting in 12th by the time the first caution flag waived at lap 22. Numerous yellow flags and rainy conditions marred the majority of the Stater Bros. 300.

Following a 26 minute rain delay, the field went back to green flag racing for an 18-lap shootout to determine the race winner. "The WINFUEL Chevrolet was really good all weekend," Shane said. "During the rain delay, when we were sitting in fifth, I thought we could get up to second if we got a chance to go back racing, but there at the end Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin were both better than I was."

"This team overcame a lot today. We had to start from the back, but we came from dead last to finish third, and that shows that this Braun Racing/WINFUEL team is going to be there competing all year. We're going after that Busch Series championship."

Smart pit strategy and a solid third place finish were good enough to make Shane Hmiel the highest finishing Busch series regular. "I couldn't be any happier unless we won, and that wasn't going to happen tonight, racing Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick," Hmiel said. "We decided to stay out and not pit when everyone else pitted during the middle of the race. My crew chief, Todd Lohse, and I decided to do that to save tires, gain track position, and lead some laps."

In his first full-Busch season with a solid team and supportive primary sponsor, Shane Hmiel knows that this is his time to break through and show his winning potential. "I've got great cars right now, with a great team and a great sponsor in WINFUEL," Hmiel said. "We're going to take this same car to Vegas. Last time I was there, I won the truck race, so we're going to try to do the same thing with the Busch car. Coming from the rear of the field today, I really tried to be patient and take care of the car, because this is my best racecar."

For the Braun Racing team, the next obstacle between them and the Busch championship will come next weekend as they travel to Mexico City to compete in the first NASCAR event to be held outside of the United States, and the first road course of the season. Catch all of the action LIVE on FOX this coming Sunday, beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Shane Hmiel , Mark Martin