Shane Hmiel (born May 15, 1980) is an American former racecar driver, who competed in all three of NASCAR's national series. Shane's controversial stock car career, marred by accidents from his aggressive driving style, ended in 2006 after he failed a third substance abuse test and was banned from competing in NASCAR for life.
After rebuilding his career in open wheel racing, primarily in United States Auto Club sanctioned dirt track racing, Hmiel was paralyzed in a near fatal racing accident on October 9, 2010 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Prior to the accident, Hmiel had become the first driver to win the Hoosier Hundred, Rich Vogler Classic, and Pat O'Connor Memorial, the three premier USAC midget-car races, in the same season.
Days before his 40th birthday, Vogler was competing in a nationally broadcast ESPN Thunder Joe James / Pat O'Connor Memorial sprint car event at Salem Speedway. He was leading the race at the time, when his car crashed with just over a lap to go.
Vogler's helmet flew off of his head and he suffered severe head injuries that proved to be fatal. Because of USAC rules on a red flag reverting to the previous completed lap, he was declared the winner of the event following his death, which was his 170th win.
He was scheduled to make his NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) series debut at Pocono Raceway the day after his fatal crash. He was awarded a 40th-place finish (as a "Did Not Start").
Shane is the son of Lisa Hmiel and Steve Hmiel, former NASCAR crew chief and later a Competition Director who worked for several teams including Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Swan Racing. He also has a younger brother, Tyler Hmiel.
Despite their problems, Zak and Lisa married on 28 January 1998. Various family troubles kept them busy during that year, but Zak and Lisa were surprised when Lisa went out to the barn and went in labour when Lisa didn't know she was pregnant.
At age 5, Hmiel was misdiagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He began smoking cannabis at age 12, and on a daily basis through his teens and 20s. Hmiel also admitted to using cocaine "about 100 times," and used drugs in part to medicate himself. After entering drug rehab in 2007, Hmiel's condition was properly diagnosed as Bipolar II disorder.
Some saw this tragic incident as a sign that the future survival of the community was dubious due to the risk of violence stemming from the cannabis market. Others blamed the incident on the fragmentation of the Copenhagen cannabis market and its expansion to the rest of the city, brought about by the measures of the Anders Fogh Rasmussen government. See below: Drugs
In 2001, Hmiel competed in the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series, earning the Rookie of the Year award with two wins and 13 top-10 finishes, finishing fifth in points.
For 2002, Hmiel moved to the Busch Series, the second-tier national series of NASCAR, in the #47 Chevrolet for Innovative Motorsports with sponsorship from Thomas Pacconi Classics, Goulds Pumps, and Mike's Hard Lemonade Co. Hmiel opened his rookie season with a fifth-place finish at Daytona.
The race was most remembered for "the Big One" on lap 15 which was the largest crash in series history, which involved about 30 cars. This occurred when Shane Hmiel got into Scott Riggs and he hit Johnny Sauter.
Sauter tumbled end over end while cars trying to avoid the wreck braked and slammed into each other. Only three cars finished on the lead lap.