Hmiel Thrashes Hoosier 100 Field

Indianapolis, Ind. – In its 58-year history, the Hoosier 100 USAC Silver Crown Championship race is known as one of the most prestigious dirt-track races for America’s top drivers. Previous winners have included the likes of A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, Parnelli Jones and Mario Andretti and Friday evening at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Shane Hmiel etched his name into the record books with a truly dazzling performance.

Starting from the front row, Hmiel put his RW Motorsports/Rotondo Weirich Toyota into the lead early, leading 47 of the opening 51 laps. After the newly adopted race stoppage on the 51st lap, Hmiel and his foes were given eight minutes to make adjustments to their cars but those changing tires would drop to the back of the field.

Hmiel’s team and the other front-runners opted to change tires, and the race leader dropped to 12th on the restart. Undaunted the North Carolina driver knifed his way through the field, taking the lead on the 77th lap en route to the checkered flag.

“This is my first Silver Crown victory and the first time I have ever won on dirt,” the victor cheered. “You don’t walk into this race. I beat 30 people tonight and I’m going to go tell A. J. Foyt tomorrow that I won the Hoosier 100.”

Discussing the race on the mile dirt track, Hmiel said, “My pavement experience helped me a lot. In stock car racing the groove is only so wide, so I am used to fighting for that little groove.”

After the pit stop, Hmiel thought his chances for victory had evaporated until the race got underway. “I thought I was screwed in the second half of the race, and told my dad (Steve Hmiel) so,” he said. “But all of sudden my right-rear tire got hot and I was headed to the front.”

And along the way he bounced off a lapped car, cutting down the opponent’s tire. “It was my fault that I ran into him,” he said. “Maybe I chopped him. When you are 25 miles faster than someone else, that’s what makes you nervous on these mile tracks.”

Bud Kaeding and Jerry Coons Jr., who both changed tires and were moved to the back of the field for the second half of the race, charged forward to gain second and third place, respectively.

“It was a no-brainer to change tires,” said Kaeding, who retained the point lead. “I sure had to drive hard from the 19th spot, and it was a good day for us.”

Coons gained his favorable finish in the closing laps and worked hard to get there. “We were too conservative in the first half, and I gave up a lot of positions,” he said. “If I hadn’t given up so much, I think we could have battled for first and second.”

Kody Swanson took fourth with three-time race winner Dave Darland fifth.

Sixth through tenth were A. J. Fike, John Heydenreich, Tracy Hines, Shane Cottle and Brian Tyler.

Bobby East flipped early in the race but walked away from the wreck.

The USAC contingent shared the program with the UMP Modifieds and NASCAR veteran Kenny Schrader led the 20-lap race from start to finish.

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