Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shane Hmiel: Returning to racing as a USAC team owner

Shane Hmiel in the race shop preparing for interviews.
Courtesy of 3 Wide Life's Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/3-Wide-Life

Less than a year since his horrific accident in his USAC Silver Crown car during qualifying, Shane Hmiel is on the road to recovery and a comeback as well. This time he returns to racing as an owner. Shane Hmiel, who is now paralyzed and in a wheelchair, will partner with his former owner, Rotondo Weirich and 3 Wide Life founder, Steve Pruett to form a USAC team, RW56 Motorsports.

Many new NASCAR fans don’t know Shane Hmiel and his racing career. Hmiel made 119 NASCAR starts to include 7 in the Sprint Cup Series and won a Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2004. In 2006, Hmiel was suspended for life from NASCAR after failing a third drug test.

Pruett and Weirich have been supporters of Hmiel since his desire to return to racing three years ago.

RW56 Motorsports is prepared to run a full 2012 season. The company will field the No. 56 3 Wide Life dirt midget in the 7 remaining USAC races of 2011, starting on August 21st. Five time National USAC driver champion, Levi Jones, will drive the 56 for the remainder of the season.

In a press release this week, Shane Hmiel said “Racing is the only way of life for me. I need to stay involved and the only way to do that due to my injuries is to become a team owner.” Hmiel also thanked Pruett and 3 Wide Life for their support.

Hmiel went on to say that RW56 Motorsports team will expand to two cars, with a second driver coming from a driver search that will be documented by 3 Wide Life.

Many of NASCAR's top drivers have come from USAC to include Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, and Ryan Newman.

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