Following a crash earlier tonight during qualifying at Terre Haute, USAC driver Shane Hmiel is in stable, but critical, condition.
During qualifying, USAC officials report that Hmiel flipped in turns three and four, with the top of the roll cage bouncing off the wall. Initial reports are saying that Hmiel was unresponsive at the scene.
Following the incident, he was airlifted to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital, where he was put in the intensive care unit.
"We are very concerned about Shane and offer our resources and our support to his family during this time of healing,” said USAC president/CEO Kevin Miller.
An update two hours ago (approx. 11pm EST) stated that Hmiel was in an induced coma and ongoing test and treatments.
However, the latest update from the president of USAC states that they were stitching him up. He also stated that the initial head scans looked good, but they needed him to wake up from the sedation to know more. Lastly, they were moving him out of the intensive care unit to a room.
Steve Hmiel, father and current competition director for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, flew from Auto Club Speedway, where this week NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races are being held, with Juan Pablo Montoya's pilots. Earnhadt-Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sebatas flew Hmiel's mother Lisa and brother Tyler from Pleasant Garden to Indianapolis to also be there.
Hmiel has been working at rebuilding his racing career after receiving a lifetime ban from NASCAR in 2005 after failing a substance abuse test.
Recently, Randy Bernard, CEO of the IZOD IndyCar Series, released a statement about how excited he was with regards to Hmiel possibly racing in the series.
“I’m excited to see Shane compete with us,” Randy Bernard, CEO of the IndyCar Series said recently. “Everyone says he’s a great driver and we’re going to give him a chance. I think that’s very important. Everyone deserves a chance and we’re committed to making sure that he has that opportunity."
“He’s exactly what I’m talking about. He’s a dirt track, short track, Americana and if he makes it over here it’s going to be a great storyline. And that’s the type of thing that we need to develop, then embrace him and give him the opportunity to succeed.”
During his NASCAR career, Hmiel made seven Cup starts in two seasons. He made a total of 83 Nationwide starts over four years, earning 23 top-10 finishes, 10 of them top fives. He made a total of 29 Camping World Truck Series starts, winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2004.
As more updates become available, they will be posted as time allows. Please feel free to comment on the article with anything you hear to keep all fans aware.
The Sumar Classic went on as scheduled, with Levi Jones winning the race.
Oct. 10, 2010 at 2:33am:
As promised, I have an update for all who are curious.
I just got word that he is awake and moving his arms. As according to this source, he has broken his neck in two places, as well as he has broken his back. They are currently running more tests.