Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shane Hmiel Returns To NASCAR...Almost

The nationally syndicated TV series Three Wide Life has been undergoing some major renovations. Just like many NASCAR teams outside of The Chase, the producers of this TV show are making changes now with an eye for 2009. One of those changes is the addition of Shane Hmiel to the line-up.

Producer Parker Williams has reached-out to Hmiel, who is currently driving Sprints, Midgets and Silver Crown cars in various series with a new outlook on life. Click here for an article by SI's Tim Tuttle on how Hmiel got his life together.

NASCAR used to have many national and regional TV series that served different purposes and aired across various areas of the country. Since the time that NASCAR consolidated its race footage and TV production, those shows have faded from the landscape.

Three Wide Life is an effort by an independent group to concentrate on interviews and conversation with NASCAR personalities. They are looking for the kind of behind-the-scenes perspective that cannot be conveyed on shows like RaceDay and NASCAR Now.

Three Wide Life has also added local Charlotte writer and reporter Brittney Cason as the new host. Originally, the current "Miss Sprint" Monica Palumbo was being considered for this role but things did not work with her current employer. Cason is a graduate of Virginia Tech and has been working on a variety of media-related projects in the Charlotte area over the past several years.

While Cason will be hosting the show, Hmiel will be featured in a very different way. As the Producer, Williams made contact with Hmiel to get his perspective on the current NASCAR scene. What he found was a clean and sober Hmiel happy to participate.

In the first new episode airing this week across the nation, Hmiel speaks-up about what he has been doing and how his new life is going. Viewers will be able to send email questions to Hmiel and he will be answering them on each episode. It should be interesting to hear Hmiel's point of view on topics ranging from Kyle Busch to The Chase. Hmiel is a person who has literally grown-up in NASCAR because of his father, Steve.

Cason will host this episode from the Richard Petty Driving Experience over at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Her feature interview is with Rick Wren, who is Ron Hornaday's crew chief in the Craftsman Truck Series. Excellent selection. There will also be a segment with Brit Goodrich from Penske Racing who talks about his pit crew role with Talladega on the horizon.

DirecTV and radio reporter Tony Rizzuti will also appear in the show with a segment called Tech Zone. Rizzuti will be speaking with veteran engine builder Keith Dorton. Topics should range from Dorton's experience with both NASCAR and the Hooters Pro Cup Series to shared memories of his late brother Randy.

To top it all off, Cason visits with IRL driver Graham Rahal, the youngest winner in IRL history. Bobby's son shares his thoughts on the current state of the unified IRL and racing in general.

This is an ambitious agenda for the re-vamped show. Since there are almost no independent TV series covering NASCAR in the marketplace today, it should be interesting to see just how Three Wide Life does over the next several months.

Click here for the Three Wide Life website that has details on where the show airs across the country.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Dustin said...

That title was just a little misleading lol

Daly Planet Editor said...

It's a TV blog dustin! :)

red said...

ok, so i read the entire article, nodding to myself and saying "yes! yes! yes!" as i read a description of the show. then i eagerly linked thru to the stations carrying it and . . . the SOLE station in PA carrying this will be in johnstown?!? nothing in the philly market? nothing in pittsburgh? seriously?

i am so discouraged. it sounds like a great show and, although i may be in the minority, i'm very pleased that hmiel will be involved.

but i won't be able to watch. any suggestions, jd?

Anonymous said...

I looked at the airings in Baltimore, hoping that I would be able to catch it. So the first thing I saw was that it was scheduled against the Cup race on Sunday. I went to the stations web sites. The Fox station has a football game at the time listed, and the other station is showing a movie.

Anonymous said...

Oops. I just posted about the Baltimore stations. The Fox station is showing Bullriding at the appointed time.

And I just posted this in the wrong comments too. Not a good afternoon.

Karen said...

Tallahassee? That's it in Florida?
C'mon. Sunsports is here in Fl. JD, you and I won't be able to see it.


P.S. I like Shane Hmiel, too, and will even more if he's cleaned up his act.

Anonymous said...

So...choose a guy who has been banned from NASCAR - for life - to commentate about the current drivers and races in NASCAR. And gosh, he's gonna answer our emails too!

Who is the rocket scientist who thought of this?

Uh-huh. Why would a sensible person care what Shane Hmiel thinks about anything? Good for him for recovering and all - I would never wish addiction upon anyone. But I don't need his expert (ha!) NASCAR racing analysis, unless he wants to compare the old NASCAR drug policy to the new one. And since he failed drug tests three times and was presumably high most of his NASCAR career, I just think and his old impressions would be questionable and he's not in the NASCAR garage, so how current would his new impressions be?

I swear, the quality of NASCAR TV gets worse every year - no lie.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The whole point of getting some exposure for this program is to add some additional distribution.

I am going to nudge them toward an online viewing option, but they are still sorting out the station and Regional Sports Network grids.


It is on Sunsports in Florida and I have asked them to update the RSN listing as well.

Anon 5:16PM,

Who thought Jimmy Spencer would be on two national TV programs every week on SPEED?

The way TV works is you try to find interesting personalities that add a unique point of view.

Hmiel was brought up in the sport and still a family actively involved. Maybe if you would take a moment to read the SI article contained in the column, it would help you to understand the source of his previous problems.


alex said...

I hope Shane is successful and can do well in this show. I was a fan of his and anything he can do to get closer to Nascar and improve his standing in their eyes is good news. Good luck to him.

Anonymous said...

Happy to see Shane is getting his life back in order and is doing well. But NASCAR better not lift its lifetime ban on Hmiel. Three strikes and you're out. To get caught 3 times in a row is unacceptable and he should have done more with his bi-polar issue before he got back into NASCAR to ensure he wouldn't go back to his old ways. I wish him the best on his new show.


Thank you for pointing us to the SI article. Good luck to Mr. Hmiel, but I'm troubled by this portion:
Hmiel, who works for Billy Ballew Motorsports' Craftsman Truck team, doesn't believe NASCAR needs to change its drug testing policies.

"I think they do a fine job now," Hmiel said. "Everything they test, they bust. Reasonable suspicion works fine. Several guys have done it and several guys got busted. NASCAR is doing a fine job. Every time they test someone, they come back positive. They know what they're looking for."

Aaron Fike was the latest NASCAR driver suspended for violation of the substance abuse policy, admitting last week that he used heroin before he drove his final race last year.

"I think Aaron was in a bad place, too, and he's in a good place now," Hmiel said. "He's been honest. He's living proof we all make mistakes."
Doesn't Mr. Hmiel know the police caught Mr. Fike at an amusement park? NASCAR didn't know. Mr. Hmiel was caught three times. The second and third time, did NASCAR catch him the very first day he started using again? Or was it a few months into him relapsing?

I'm not sure I find him credible after reading his opinion on drug testing. But I do remember him having a very fiery personality, so perhaps he'll do well on television.

I'm also troubled by the simple fact that because he's "family" Mr. Hmiel gets yet another chance for racing from one of his dad's friends. And a television show. Lots of struggling racers get left behind in NASCAR's culture of nepotism: I know a few of them from my area. They have talent, but little money or connections.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I really don't think that question makes a lot of sense for Hmiel to answer.

NASCAR's own expert had to be persuaded by the pressure from the drivers after the Fike interview with to make the change.

NASCAR was content to hide in its shell.


Anonymous said...

Why in the world does this show choose a driver who has been banned from the sport to talk about it?

Couldn't they get anyone else?

All this will do is alienate fans who know Hmiel's background and don't want to see him profit from NASCAR in any way. What he did was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I also agree that if he didn't have a family connection with NASCAR, he'd be out entirely.

Which is where he belongs.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think that question makes a lot of sense for Hmiel to answer.

But from what you wrote in your column, the reason for Shane to be on the show is to comment on NASCAR.

If he's not the right person to comment on the drug policy, who is? He gave an answer he appears to believe in, which is what I assume the show hired him for. What else is he qualified to comment on? He doesn't race in NASCAR and hasn't for a long time. I don't care who he's related to.

Count me out on this show. I didn't even check to see if it's shown on one of my channels.

Dot said...

@Anon 6:13, I totally agree with you.

Does being bi polar make one disrespectful? Remember the incident with DJ when Shane flipped him off? That's what did it for me. Not that I liked him before that.

Even if the lifetime ban is lifted, what team would hire him? His NASCAR days are over, regardless.

Daly Planet Editor said...


If you take a moment to read the article linked in my column you might come away with a very different opinion.


Newracefan said...

I wish him well, not sure I would like to see him back in Nascar but I do not begrudge him making a living in racing as long as he stays on his bipolar meds and off the illegal/inappropriate use ones.

Hopefully the show will expand to other markets because I would love to see it.

Dot said...

@ JD,

I reread the story. I guess being bi polar is a disease that made him do drugs and act like an a$$. He said that he was out of control. Now that he takes the correct meds, he's just fine. Why doesn't NASCAR reinstate him?

NASCAR didn't ban Bobby Hamilton from racing when he was ill. Ted Musgrave was still driving while dealing with his disease. Not sure if Steve Wallace takes anything for his Tourette's, but he's driving.

Shane should jump on the NASCAR lawsuit band wagon.

yankeegranny said...

Having taught bi-polar students for many I can testify that: yes if you are off your meds you will act like an a$$, be mean and nasty and not be fit to be around. Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde is a good description of the bi-polar personality and a great number of them do end up using hard drugs as a way of coping. I never heard a lot about Shane Hmiel, but if he can trace hais addiction back to being bi-polar, why not give him another shot at the big time if he is really clean?

Deborah said...

I think there might have been better choices than to go with Hmiel but being banned for testing positive for drug use doesn't mean that Hmiel doesn't have valid opinions on racing or Nascar. He does have knowledge about the sport. Just because he did something wrong doesn't mean that he should be written off forever from anything to do with the sport, though I do think that he shouldn't be allowed back as a driver.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has a right to make a living but don't they want a recovering person to remove themselves from the surroundings which put them at risk in the first place? As for him being bi-polar I know from having dealt with a family member who is bi-polar any use of alcohol or drugs just supercharges the condition and if off medication makes them very very to deal with. Extreme aggression, combative or manic behavior and sometimes suicidal tendencies are just some of the symptoms displayed and not a great recipe for a long successful career in motor sports. It is however treatable problems most often occur when the individual decides on their own they don't want or need the medication and simply stop taking them just as in any drug there are side effects this will almost always lead to relapses on all fronts. If Mr. Hmiel has extremely good support group around him he can function and succeed as well as anyone. He must however understand this is something that will be with him the rest of his life. Any use of drugs or alcohol are things he will not be able to ever let occur again. He should however not be in denial and should have been more supportive of any new drug testing policies Nascar proposes or introduces when they finally get beyond their own denial. I wish him well in the future, it is a condition as I said I've had to deal with within my family and it can be very hard long road to recovery and will test the resolve of any family or group.

penny said...

JD just wanted to let you know that I'm also in florida ,( Tampa Bay area ) and #wide life was on the Sun Sports Channel last night ( Wednesday @ 11 pm ) , also just watched another show of 3 wide life on Sun Sports at 1 pm this afternoon. After checking Sun Sports schedule it is on at a few different times during the week. So if anyone is intrested they can check the sun sports schedule to see when it is on.

Karen said...

penny said...

JD just wanted to let you know that I'm also in florida ,( Tampa Bay area ) and #wide life was on the Sun Sports Channel last night ( Wednesday @ 11 pm ) , also just watched another show of 3 wide life on Sun Sports at 1 pm this afternoon.

Penny, was the show worth trying to find? I still haven't found it.

darbar said...

BTW, those with DirectTV can find the SUN channel on 653. You have to have an extra subscription to the Sports Networks package in order to receive it. I just checked and the next showing of 3 Wide Life is Monday at 12am Eastern.

Anonymous said...

JD....why all the pub on a independent, second-rate show that will be invisible from the time it hits air?
I know that you are beholden to ESPN and SPEED, since 99% of your commentary revolves around those two entities....but there are plenty of "legitimate" shows/networks that you simply refuse to mention, like FSN's "Around the Track" show, Joe Moore's "Raceline", etc....
Broaden your horizons!

Mike said...

I'm glad for Shane. I'm from the same area as he, and see him out and about rather often. He has settled down with a cute girl which a friend of mine knows pretty well. I hear she's a good girl who would never put up with his past decisions & actions, so she's apparently been keeping him in line rather well. Every time I see him out he seems to be a much happier person, and he definitely seems to be living a better life!
I think he deserves another chance at NASCAR. Plenty of people say 'Well, he had three, and that's enough', BUT, this was all before he was diagnosed as bi-polar, and as many articles have said, as well as many comments on this page, that's not only a hard disease to overcome & live with, but it also makes it difficult for a person to make correct decisions when dealing with their life. I have to agree with Dot, and I hope Shane does take legal action with Nascar-it would be worth the try I would think. He was a great driver back in his day, and I'm sure he hasn't lost the talent!
I'm excited for the new show, and I hope it's a hit!

Anonymous said...

For all of these comments about Shane: he obviously should never be anywhere close to NASCAR again, and please don't respond with a "please read the article" BS. I feel he is full of excuses as well as himself. And the new host, Brittney Cason- where is Emily? Or even Monica? Brittney was all over the place, didn't know what to do with her hands or body, and made me wonder why I was curious enough to watch in the first place. It was very obvious she has had absolutely no television experience whatsoever. Brittney Cason sucked. Producers: start the hiring machine up again.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the new host is horrible. Talks like she's 12 and flipped her hair about 4 times in the span of 30 seconds in one show. Haven't heard very good things about her. The show could be good, but I seriously can't watch it with this new host. Also don't get the whole Shane Hmiel thing at all.

Anonymous said...

Shane is not bi polar he is just a coke head. Wonder how much his father paid that doctor.