By Randy Claypoole GREENVILLE, S.C. (July 14, 2001) Each time the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring competes at Greenville-Pickens Speedway each participant feels compelled to pause and study the wall of fame. (Those who have won championships...
By Randy Claypoole
GREENVILLE, S.C. (July 14, 2001) Each time the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring competes at Greenville-Pickens Speedway each participant feels compelled to pause and study the wall of fame. (Those who have won championships at the hallowed track have their names painted boldly down the entire backstretch). With the track being so rich in racing history a trip to victory is always special. Shane Hmiel can now claim a win there with the likes of Petty, Pearson, and Earnhardt (to name only a few).
Hmiel's performance dominates all of the race statistics, like winner of the BI-LO/LANCE SNACK FOOD'S "150", Bud Pole Winner, Gatorade Front Runner, and MAG KLIP Rookie of the Race. But is was not as easy as it may seem. After winning his second Bud Pole of the Season, Hmiel's starting spot was shuffled in the pre-race draw.
Robert Huffman drew the top spot with Jake Hobgood on the outside. Hobgood had a great start and jumped into the lead exiting turn two. He would lead for the first twenty-six laps. The first of seven cautions occurred when Roger Sawyer moved to the inside to pass Angie Wilson. Wilson moved down to block Sawyer. In the process of driving hard into turn one she tapped Randy Humphrey on the back bumper causing him to loop his car.
On the restart Hobgood slipped wide giving room for Huffman to take the point. On lap thirty-four Hmiel passed Huffman and held the top spot until pitting for fuel on lap seventy-two, while under caution. Jake Hobgood inherited the lead, with Eric Van Cleef, Justin Hobgood, Cam Strader, Hmiel, Huffman, Jimmy Britts, Joey Miller, Danny Bagwell, and Scott Weaver in the top ten. Angie Wilson was allowed to start at the front since she was on the tail end of the lead lap and had not pitted. For the first flew laps after the restart the leaders had to contend with Wayne Edwards and Wilson as they fought to remain out in front. Hmiel would take over the lead on lap eighty-one but give way to a hard charging Jimmy Britts on lap ninety-eight. While enjoying his tenure at the point Britts had to drive through wrecked cars on two separate occasions. On lap one hundred thirty-five four cars spun in turn one and blocked the racing groove. Britts locked the brakes but was still collected by the incident. In the process he was kind enough to make an opening for his competitors. Hmiel was once again in control and went on to collect the win. "My leg was starting to cramp when Jimmy was racing with me," said Hmiel. "I hate that he (Britts) got caught in that mess. But, I am happy that it worked in our favor."
Huffman passed Justin Hobgood to take second place. "I was giving it what I had," said Huffman. "Shane was really strong tonight. And, it was a great night for Toyota. All three of our teams finished in the top ten." Eric Van Cleef equaled his best finish of the season (7th) which was his fifth top ten. Rookie Wayne Edwards notched his third top ten of the season.
Hmiel went on to say, "I have to thank my crew for a great car! And, I have to thank Faye Parnell (with Good-year Racing Tires) for the good luck hugs tonight. They helped me get the pole and then the win."
Rounding out the ten were Robert Huffman, Justin Hobgood, Danny Bagwell, Joey Miller, Jake Hobgood, Eric Van Cleef, Roger Sawyer, Tim Nichols, and Wayne Edwards.
Other Notes: Points Leader Cam Strader suffered yet another set back when he was caught up in a wreck. He retired his machine on lap 118. Renee Kopstein and Mickey Lawson made their Series debut. Kopstein completed 115 laps and finished 22nd. Lawson was on hand doing R&D for Randy Humphrey Racing. Tim Nichols takes over the lead in the MAG KLIP Rookie of the Year standings.
The Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring returns to action Saturday, July 24, 2001 at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, North Carolina.