Hmiel says, “I didn’t seek this out, but I’m so thankful to Accessible Racing for this honor. They have done and continue to do great things for the physically disabled.”
More than 2 years ago Shane Hmiel was an up-and-coming race car driver, his career was on the fast-track and he was making a name for himself in racing circuits nationwide. But all of that changed on October, 9, 2010, in Terre Haute, Indiana. According to USA Today Hmiel was on a mission to qualify for a United States Auto Club Silver Crown race when his car careened out of control, slamming into the outside wall and rolling over several times. The crash damaged the protective roll cage, and Hmiel was left with severe head and spinal injuries that paralyzed him from the neck down. In fact, his injuries were so severe doctors told his family he had a 10% chance of survival and he would never breath without a ventilator or walk again, and he most surely would never get behind the wheel of a race car.
Well, not only is Hmiel breathing on his own, but he has defied all predictions and on January, 26th, he was again in a race car speeding around the track. Thanks to Accessible Racing President Brian Hanaford, and Shane’s mother Lisa Hmiel not only is Shane racing agian, but two wounded Marine Corps vets, Scout Sniper Jessie Fletcher and Lance Corporal Cody Evans, who both lost their legs in IED explosions, got the opportunity through the Racing4Vets organization to participate in Race to the Rock in an adapted Grand Am stock car as well.
Even more than the opportunity to race again, being able to provide both inspiration and hope to wounded and disabled vets was the driving force behind Hmiel’s decision to get back behind the wheel. He says, “[I] got a second chance and [want] to use it to give back and show other disabled people that they too can overcome their challenges.” He is “excited and grateful” for the chance to do what he was told would never be possible again.
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