HMIEL AND ...
HMIEL AND #32 WINFUEL TEAM HAVE DISAPPOINTING WEEKEND IN PHOENIX
PHOENIX, AZ (April 22, 2005) -- Shane Hmiel and the #32 WINFUEL team had a tough up and down weekend in the hot Arizona desert that ended with a 33rd place finish after being caught up in a late race wreck. The team unloaded for practice on Thursday and was forced to battle with an ill handling car for most of the day. By the end of final practice, the WINFUEL team made major changes to get the #32 up to 8th fastest on the chart.
Friday afternoon the WINFUEL Chevrolet went out 22nd in the qualifying order. Hmiel battled loose conditions and could only manage a 31st starting spot on the grid for the race later that night.
Before the race started, NASCAR officials noticed fuel leaking from the #32 WINFUEL Chevrolet. WINFUEL team members quickly identified the problem and changed a fitting on the fuel line to stop the leak, but the work forced Hmiel to go to the back of the field to start the race.
"We had a tough weekend, but the WINFUEL Chevrolet turned out to be a really good car," Shane said. "We qualified terrible because the car was so loose, but we knew it would tighten up and come to us during the race at night. The team found a fuel leak before the race started and we were forced to start from the back because we had to change a fitting. We came from almost dead last up to third, and we were on a great pit strategy for the end of the race."
Throughout the caution plagued race, which had 14 cautions for 67 laps, the WINFUEL team was able to come to pit road to make improvements on the #32 Chevy. The 12th caution on lap 143, allowed the 3rd place WINFUEL Chevrolet to come down pit road for the final service of the night. However everything changed with the restart on lap 146, as cars in the front of the pack accelerated too quickly and got stacked up, causing a six car wreck in the middle of the pack.
"I had the wreck on the restart missed until someone come by and hit us in the side," a disappointed Hmiel explained. "It's unfortunate because the WINFUEL Chevrolet was great there at the end of the race. I had just made my final stop of the race and I was looking forward to working my way through the field in the closing laps. My guys had to work really hard this weekend to get the car as good as they did, and we were going to get a top-five out of it."
"We did all that we could to get the car fixed and back out there to salvage the 33rd place finish for points," Hmiel said. "It hurts your feelings to work that hard and then end up in a wreck on the restart, but we'll go to Talladega next weekend and try to turn our luck around there."
Shane Hmiel and the #32 WINFUEL team heads south this coming weekend for the second restrictor plate race of the season. Live coverage of the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway begins Saturday on Fox at 2:00 p.m. EST.