SHANE HMIEL LEADS THE FIELD TO THE GREEN, FINISHES 10th AT TEXAS FT. WORTH, TX (April 16, 2005) -- The trip to the Lone Star State started off fast for Shane Hmiel and the ...
SHANE HMIEL LEADS THE FIELD TO THE GREEN, FINISHES 10th AT TEXAS
FT. WORTH, TX (April 16, 2005) -- The trip to the Lone Star State started off fast for Shane Hmiel and the #32 WINFUEL team. On Thursday, the #32 WINFUEL Chevy was at the top of the board during the only practice session of the weekend.
Later that same day, Shane Hmiel laid down a blistering lap late in the qualifying session to knock defending Busch Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr. off the pole position. Hmiel paced "The Great American Speedway" at 189.840 mph with a time of 28.445 seconds to capture his first Busch pole of the 2005 season.
"It's great to finally win the first pole of the season for the WINFUEL team," Hmiel said. "My guys have worked so hard all season and we've thought we had a chance at the pole a few times, but we weren't able to pull it off for one reason or another. Today we definitely had the fastest car during the practice session, and I'm glad that we were able to cap it off with our first pole of the season."
Saturday afternoon, under the hot Texas sun, Shane Hmiel led the 43 car field to the green flag to start the O'Reilly 300. Hmiel led the first lap over Martin Truex, Jr. before relinquishing the lead. By the end of the day, the #32 WINFUEL Chevrolet led the field twice for a total of 20 laps.
"Our WINFUEL Chevrolet was so fast from the time we unloaded it this weekend," Shane said. "It was great to sit on the pole and lead laps during the race, but as fast as we were, we were really looking to go to victory lane."
The WINFUEL Chevy ran in the top-five all day long and looked like one of the contenders for the win, until a late race incident on lap 157 when Hmiel made contact with #25 Ashton Lewis Jr. and the backstretch wall. Hmiel and crew chief Todd Lohse assed the damage on the track and decided to stay out and try to finish the race. After the restart, Shane reported a vibration in the front of the car. Another quick caution on lap 171 allowed Hmiel to bring the #32 to the attention of the WINFUEL crew on pit road for four tires and to pull out the left front fender.
"It's disappointing to run in the top-five all day, and then end up getting together with a lap car in the last 25 laps of the race," Hmiel said. "Coming off of turn 2 is really tight here at Texas, and the #25 and I ran out of room and got together. I got into the wall and that bent up something with the wheel, which ended our shot for the win. I don't know if I could have beaten the #38, because he was fast all day, but I definitely would have had something for him there at the end."
The #32 WINFUEL Chevrolet restarted the race in 19th with 26 laps to go in the race and Hmiel was able to battle his way through traffic to pick up nine positions and salvage a 10th place finish. "I'm proud of my WINFUEL guys for fixing it the best they could and getting me back out there to pick up a top-ten finish," Shane said. "Hopefully we will be as fast at Phoenix next week, and maybe we can pull off our first win."
The NASCAR Busch Series travels to the Arizona desert this coming weekend for the first night race of the season. Live coverage of the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway begins Friday night on FX at 8:30 p.m. EST.