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Dennis Michelsen · Tuesday April 5, 2005
Shane Hmiel, You Are a Punk
All the changes NASCAR has made over the years have challenged my loyalty to my favorite sport. But the one reason it is still my favorite is the fact that other sports nowadays are filled with punks. Allen Iverson is a talented basketball player but I would never root for him. Why? Because Mr. Iverson is a 100% certified PUNK. I could go on and on but you get the idea. But now NASCAR has a young gun in the Busch series that is raising PUNK-dom to an all time high level in the sport. Shane Hmiel has turned into a disgrace!
Oh sure the kid has talent but the same can be said of thousands of guys racing on the local short tracks that never get handed the opportunity Hmiel has gotten. Just for fun I would love to see Ricky Bilderback, the short track ace from Rockford Speedway, take on Shane Hmiel in a match race. Ricky is so good that back in 2001 track president Jack Deery announced a “bounty” of $500 for any driver that could beat Bilderback! Put these guys in equally prepared cars on a short track like Rockford and I would bet on Ricky Bilderback… and he wouldn’t have to wreck Hmiel to beat him.
Everyone knows the history of Shane Hmiel’s mysterious drug suspension after a race in Richmond. Any other driver would have been virtually banned from the sport for such an infraction. But having access to DEI motors thanks to his Dad, Shane Hmiel has been in high demand. Yes he can get the job done on the track but at what price? NASCAR has always been about respect. Drivers earned that respect from their fellow drivers on the way up the ladder. Buckshot Jones had a reputation of being a rough and sometimes out of control driver but he was never a punk. Has there been a race in any NASCAR series this year where Hmiel hasn’t ticked someone off with his actions?
This latest incident in Bristol by Shane Hmiel deserves a quick and harsh punishment by NASCAR! It was not so much wrecking Dale Jarrett but Hmiel’s punkish attitude after the fact. Just imagine if he had flipped the bird at Dale Jarrett while DJ was dressing him down for his actions. But no in true PUNK fashion Shane Hmiel waited until DJ’s back was turned and then gave him the one finger salute. When asked after the race about Jarrett’s promise that his actions were, “Going to cost him one day,” Hmiel then added insult to injury. “He’d better hurry up,” Hmiel said about 48-year-old Jarrett’s threat to get him later. “He doesn’t have much longer.”
Where is the respect for a NASCAR champion? Can you imagine what the employer of Hmiel’s Dad would have said about that if he were alive to have heard that? NASCAR better sit this kid for a good long time so he can think about what his punk attitude will do to this sport! But since his Dad is so well connected I doubt they will do much more than give him a fine.
Rules Review After Five Races
Five races are in the books and it is time to look back at how well NASCAR’s changes have worked so far. There were three major rules changes for this season so let’s take them one by one. Once again this is just one “FANS” opinion and I would hope you will jump in with your comments if you agree or disagree.
Qualifying Rules- Top 35 Get an Automatic Starting Spot
In the ideal world I would love to see the fastest 43 drivers race every week. But we have to face the reality that this is a sponsor and personality driven sport. Asking a company to shell out over $10 Million every season they better be assured they will see their car race on Sunday. Overall I think this rule has worked out pretty good. In a few races we even had the fastest 43 drivers race, which is something we seldom saw with the old provisional rules. If I was to suggest a change I would lower the number to 30 but even using NASCAR’s 35 I think this rule has worked better than our old provisional system.
Spoiler Height- This rule change making the spoilers smaller has not been uniform across the board in how it affected teams. The Dodge teams got approval of their new nose based on the old spoiler height. Losing some spoiler has left Dodge teams scrambling to find the right balance on their cars. Eventually they will figure it out but they started the 2005 season behind the Chevy and Ford teams. NASCAR has done the right thing by resisting making any adjustment to the rule so far this year and I do hope they will stick with the same rule on spoiler height all season.
Gear Ratios- This was probably the least talked about rule change but has had the biggest affect on racing so far this season. The idea was to take away some of the big money teams advantage on motor design by limiting how many RPMs they could pull using the new gear ratio rule to set the limits. This rule change has backfired on NASCAR a bit with some teams that were strong in the motor department in the past by pulling more RPMs lagging a bit behind. Meanwhile the two teams with the most money to throw at the motor departments, Roush-Yates and Hendricks have benefited the most. Again I hope NASCAR doesn’t make any changes since Evernham and Gibbs are already closing the gap.
NASCAR is always tinkering with the rules but this time overall I think they got the rule changes right. Now if they can only find a way to dumb down the aero on these cars we might get back to even better racing!
©2000 - 2008 Dennis Michelsen and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I love the commentary on the qualifying rules. Sure, we complained about them, before we saw them in action. But overall, I agree that it seems to be working better so far than the old provisional rules. It also seems that competition has stepped up in quals, making it a little more exciting (as much as it can be for just one car, two laps).
Sure we still may not understand it totally (the Monday Busch race starting grid explanation went WAY over my head), but that’s half of NASCAR. Each time something was implemented, fans knocked it without understanding, but sometimes, just sometimes, NASCAR gets it right.
Shane probley is a punk as you call him but Dale’s walking around the track with the camera’s on him are a tad old too…I do think maybe due to Dale’s age and all Shane should have shown him respect..By getting out of the car and meeting him halfway instead of saluting him as he walked off.
Hey Dennis, check out Allen Iverson this year. playing great and acting good to.
Enjoy your Odds& Ends. Terry
That wreck and Shane’s ensuing reaction were more due to Jarret’s actions than Hmiel’s. While I like DJ, he provoked the response he got. Maybe Nascar will fine Hmiel in this climate of right-wing conservatism, but that shouldn’t get him the backhanded knee-jerk reaction from all the fans. He didn’t make those cars in front of DJ tangle. Didn’t Jarret spin someone out? I think so. Truex deserved what he got but should have been parked and fined as he made the Spencer mistake of announcing it on the radio. And I don’t hear anyone complaining about Waltrip when he took out somebody during the race. Maybe that’s because he can’t drive and belongs somewhere other than Cup!
The fact remains that the Cup drivers are ruining the Busch Series. And now with the Czars of Nascar talking about a “Chase” for the series, the Thieves/outlaws/millionaire drivers of the Cup world can come and ruin the true intention of the development Busch arena. Remember, 7 of the top ten finishers on Monday’s race were Buschwackers. And Hmiel’s right, DJ better hurry up, he is getting old!!!
I was laughing and cheering as DJ walked over to Shane’s car…it’s so refreshing to see drivers show an honest emotional response to an incident, and that’s why we love Bristol…plenty of high tempers abound. I knew DJ wasn’t walking over there to punch out a man sitting in his car…so did the officials, who just walked along with him, rather than trying to stop him. Why not let him voice his opinion?
Shane’s opinion (bird, AND post-race), however, smacked of a complete and utter disrespect for those who could help him in his move into the Cup series…he’s going to find out the hard way that he’s cutting off valuable resources for himself.
I agree Dennis; if Shane keeps on going the way he is, he’s going to find out that even all Daddy’s connections can’t buy him respect.
You were talking about connections and how you have to be more than an average driver to get a seat regardless of your name…I don’t deny that Hmiel has talent, but he has no idea what to do with it…he’s either up front or in the wall, he’s rarely consistent. Even though he is a good driver, most teams wouldn’t put up with his crap if it wasn’t for the fact that apparently signing Hmiel gaurantees you DEI support.
And I would like you to clarify something, when you talk about Waltrip and Wallace getting their rides because of their names, you do agree that they have earned them and have talent, right?
Like you said, he has talent. Didn’t you see the way he ran Bobby Hamilton into that wall last year in the truck race? As to your last question, K.Wallace, M.Wallace and M.Waltrip are just average. But I would say that Waltrip is actually below average because of the quality of the organization for which he drives. Since joining DEI in ‘01, his average start is 18.4, average finish 20.6. You tell me that’s not average? And only 4 wins on restrictor plate tracks solely due to DEI’s technological advantage at those tracks. And who gave Waltrip his best start last year in the Busch series? Hmiel when he qualified 3rd for Waltrip at Nazareth. Yes, Mikey is average and got the ride because of his name, just like he gets the sponsors that way. Riding the coattails of his brother’s accomplishments. Granted, being the 2-time winner of the Daytona 500 has helped him. But if he wasn’t with DEI it would be hard to believe he would have even gotten those wins.
I watched the race again this morning. Hmiel got into the back of DJ, but then never let off! It was as deliberate of a spin as I’ve seen in a long time.
Oh, and did everyone forget about the other two cars that Hmiel ‘pushed’ out of the way in order to get behind DJ in the first place!
Even the announcers kept mentioning all the cars that Shane put the bump to in the LAST 20 LAPS!
Same kind of incident. Wreck up ahead. Someone checked in front of Waltrip and he hit them hard. Where’s his criticism?
You make a very good point, however I also believe if the Cup Drivers left the circut completly NASCAR would have a hard time filling out the field. “43 cars would probably become 35 or less.” Next thing you know it will look like the the Indy Racing League. Need I say more. You see Bush as a development series, I see it as entertainment. Now looking at your name it would seem you are a very strong Hmiel supporter. At first I too wanted to see him succeed but now considering his actions with DJ, I just like to see him wreck because at this point he doens’t deserve to win. Maybe someday but not now.
Hmiel haters will be Hmiel haters. Just like those that don’t like other drivers. Hmiel will get past it. The question is, if and when Jarret retaliates, will that make everyone happy and is it right? Bottom line, if anyone is happy because someone gets intentionally wrecked for any reason then they’re not a race fan. You should be at the demolition derby. If anyone thinks Hmiel wrecked DJ purposefully, then they’re not being realistic. They’re just looking for someone to hate. If one wants to see what it looks like to see someone get spun intentionally, just reverse the tape till you see Truex spin Bodine. And then go back some more and tell me Bodine intentionally ran Truex into the wall. Listen to what Truex said on the radio. Now that’s respecting a veteran driver.
Just like Bodine in Truex’s mind, Hmiel does not get the benefit of the doubt. He’s in the wrong, regardless of what really happened, put there by all the Shane shamers. Whatever.
It seems like this would be a more appropriate place for this type of debate. Thanks!
Here at Frontstretch we do allow EVERYONE to share their opinions with the fans. How have we censored you? I happen to disagree with you but I did respond via e-mail which shows, I hope, that we value your participation in the debate!
It appeared to me DJ was not happy about Hmiel’s driving from more than one incident. If anyone listens to DJ on the scanner or follows him – it takes more than a smack to get him fired up. He was upset at Hmiel for more than that. I am thinking he saw him on the track all day doing things.
I think Hmiel has a hell of a lot of talent but needs more lap time. The races in BGN are longer than he needs at this time. A couple years in the trucks would do him good. He is definately not ready to move to Cup. A driver can not drive as Shane does in Cup. Those races demand car control and driver control. He lacks that at this time. Maybe he is in too good of equipment. Give him Morgan’s car for a few weeks and make him realize that he has to first finish. ( BTW – I mean no disrepsect to Morgan, everyone knows he is underfunded.)
It is one thing to be an aggressive driver, but it is another to be a jackass and a druggie in the process. As hard as NASCAR and the sponsors work at projecting a clean cut image, it makes me wonder why they dont cut his garage pass in half and keep him away from a race car.
Thanks for your cooperation and for visiting The Frontstretch!
I can’t wait for him to make to Cup, then he can have a whole new fan base to tick off.
Dennis no longer contributes to the Frontstretch, but you can Dennis's commentary at his website bio and archive page.