On the road to recovery, Shane Hmiel has gone through his third successful surgery in two weeks in what is believed to be the start of a long road.
Within 48 hours of the wreck, Hmiel went through a pair of surgeries to repair the damage, which reports show went well.
He still has one more surgery to go to repair a torn artery in his neck. Originally, it was supposed to be last Friday but was postponed because of Hmiel's pneumonia.
"That pneumonia scared the hell out of us,'' Steve Hmiel said in an interview with Dustin Long. "His heart stopped three times. You come around the corner [into the room] and they're hollering and they're pumping your kid's chest, you're like, 'Oh my God.' All it was he was drowning from all the fluid in his lungs.''
Hmiel got over the pneumonia over the following week and today at 9 a.m. EST, he went through the surgery. According to reports from the doctors, the surgery was successful. Originally, they thought they would have to block it off completely; however, they were able to put coils in to close the tear and allow blood to continue to flow.
His mom, Lisa, reports that this evening he is resting well and breathing 95 percent on his own, with the ventilator doing the other five percent. She also adds that they hope to remove the ventilator soon.
For continued updates from the Hmiel family, check out the Shane Hmiel—Road to Recovery Facebook page, where Lisa posts updates daily.
The injuries were caused following a wreck in qualifying. Hmiel flipped in turns three and four, with the top of the roll cage bouncing off the wall, USAC officials report. Initial reports said that Hmiel was unresponsive at the scene. He was then airlifted to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital.
To help raise money for Hmiel's medical expenses, USAC is selling "Racing to Recovery" decals on their site for $5.00, and RWB Motorsports is selling the 2010 T-shirt on their site for $25.00. Also, for every new fan who likes the USAC Racing page on Facebook, USAC will donate 10 cents to the fund from now till Dec. 31.
Fans who wish to make a direct donation may write a check to BENEFIT OF SHANE HMIEL and send it to: Steve Pruett, 700 St. John Street, Suite 300, Lafayette, LA 70501. It was added that they're working on setting up a PayPal account to accept the donations electronically.
Hmiel has been working to rebuild his racing career after NASCAR banned him for life in 2005 after failing a substance abuse test.
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.