During his four-year NASCAR career, Shane appeared in seven Nextel Cup races, 83 Busch races, and 29 Truck Series races. His controversial stock car career was marred by accidents from his aggressive driving style. In 2006 after he failed a third substance abuse test, he was banned from competing in NASCAR for life thus redirecting his promising young career.
The first turning point in Shane’s life came in July 2007 when he was involved in a bar fight that led to an infection in his hand from teeth being lodged in it. After spending days in the hospital, he made the life defining choice to check into drug rehabilitation.
After completing drug rehab and reaching his three-years-sober milestone, Shane returned to racing in open-wheeled cars. Back on track where he belongs, Shane set the goal of becoming “the next American IndyCar driver” for the next leg of his career.
However, life had a different goal for Shane. As he was attempting to quality for a United States Auto Club Silver Crown race, his car slammed into the outside wall and rolled over several times. The force of the crash damaged the protective roll cage on Shane’s car. In an instant, he was paralyzed with severe head and spinal injuries. Doctors initially told Shane and his family that he had a 10 percent chance to live. And if he lived, he would never walk or breathe on his own again.
Obviously – those doctors didn’t know Shane Hmiel.
Today Shane has proved all those initial expectations for his life wrong. In addition to his nonstop work towards his goal of walking again, Shane has continued to live his life as extraordinarily normal as possible – including driving his mom to the airport or going boating on his family vacation.
One of the central loves of Shane’s life has always been racing, and he has never let his disabilities keep him away from the track. He regularly travels to races to support his USAC midget car team, and has even gotten behind the wheel of a stock car again.