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[NASCAR] Shane Hmiel Suspended


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Hmiel suspended for violating substance abuse policy

June 2, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Shane Hmiel was suspended indefinitely Thursday for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy.

It is the second time in less than two years that Hmiel has been suspended for substance abuse.

NASCAR officials said that Hmiel tested positive for a banned substance after Busch Series qualifying at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Hmiel, who is 14th in the Busch Series points standing and was preparing for this week's race at Dover International Raceway, also was suspended in September 2003.

Hmiel was cleared to return to competition by NASCAR in February 2004. His reinstatement carried several conditions, including random drug testing at NASCAR's discretion.

How would you like a pot-head driving next to you at 190mph :rofl:

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Hmiel's sad story

By Jerry Bonkowski, Yahoo! Sports

June 2, 2005

If you were in your early 20s and given one chance to do so, how many of you would give virtually anything to drive a race car professionally?

Instead of rubbing counters at a restaurant or fenders in an auto repair shop, or watching TV or playing video games, how many of you would rather be rubbing shoulders with Dale Earnhardt Jr. or hanging out with Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon?

Very few get those kinds of opportunities. The chances of winning the lottery are better than being picked to be one of the roughly 75 or 80 who drive a Nextel Cup or Busch Series car full-time for a living.

That's why Shane Hmiel's story is so very sad. At 24, Hmiel had the racing world by the tail. Currently 14th in Busch points, Hmiel has the kind of talent that likely would have seen him promoted to the Cup level in the next year or two.

Yet Hmiel took all his talent and network of connections (his father is Earnhardt Jr.'s new crew chief, Steve Hmiel) for granted ? not once, but twice. Less than two years after serving a four-month suspension for illegal substance use, Hmiel again has been busted by NASCAR, only this time the penalty is much tougher.

On Thursday, NASCAR suspended Hmiel indefinitely from racing for again violating the sport's substance abuse policy. To add even more embarrassment, he was escorted off the grounds of Dover International Speedway Thursday afternoon while practicing for this weekend's Busch Series race.

As Hmiel walked out, so went his nice paycheck, notoriety, a job that most people would give anything for, a comfy lifestyle and a promising future.

Now, his future ? or at least his racing life ? is no longer his. He'll come back when NASCAR officials decide he has served his penalty, gotten help for his problem and learned the lesson he should have taken to heart after his first infraction.

When that happens is anyone's guess. It could be later this year, next year, or maybe never if NASCAR wants to make Hmiel an example to other drivers who may be tempted to illegally indulge or try to skirt the rules.

For all that, Hmiel has no one to blame but himself.

Suspending an athlete for substance abuse is never easy. But where most other professional sports coddle user/athletes with unlimited second and third and fourth chances, NASCAR doesn't mess around. Dabble with drugs and your career is put in jeopardy, plain and simple.

That's where other sports could learn a few lessons from NASCAR's tough anti-drug policy. It's necessarily tough as there is no room for error in a sport where reaction time and judgment are so important, a sport that can turn deadly at any time, where a driver's life can be snuffed out by no fault of his own but by someone else, who thought he wouldn't harm anyone if he illegally snorted, smoked or swallowed.

Hmiel was found to have illegal substances in his system while behind the wheel of a race car, failing a test taken last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. End result: Hmiel was caught ? and he's probably lucky NASCAR found out first and got to him before a lynch mob of his fellow Busch drivers descended upon his pit stall.

With driving a race car comes responsibility for one's actions, both on and off the race track. Sure, there's pressure to perform, but there's also pressure to cast yourself in the right light with your peers, fans, sponsors and everyone else associated with racing.

If you can't, there's always another young guy waiting in the wings for his chance. Hmiel once was there. Now another guy will have what Hmiel took for granted.

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How would you like a pot-head driving next to you at 190mph  :rofl:

586011530[/snapback]

Still can't believe this is his 2nd strike for the same thing...I really hope NASCAR permanently bans him this time.

EDIT: I guess they did

On Thursday, NASCAR suspended Hmiel indefinitely from racing
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/\ yea I don't think he'll be back...at least if they allow him to come back I don't think any sponsors would take a chance on him. There is way too much money on the line to take a chance.

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/\ yea I don't think he'll be back...at least if they allow him to come back I don't think any sponsors would take a chance on him. There is way too much money on the line to take a chance.

586011562[/snapback]

I seriously doubt he'll ever be in a NASCAR car again. He threw away one of the best racing gigs on the planet for a little high... :no:

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I seriously doubt he'll ever be in a NASCAR car again. He threw away one of the best racing gigs on the planet for a little high... :no:

586011567[/snapback]

No doubt man...He had a ton of talent too. They were saying today on the NASCAR radio station (on XM) that he would have most likely been in the Nextel Cup Series in two years. I'm glad NASCAR has such a harsh drug policy...it isn't the place to take any chances. :no:

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