Friday, July 22, 2011

Shane Hmiel Special Aims To Set Record Straight

Update: Leaving this post up for comments from viewers who saw the Hmiel piece on RaceHub. Live blogging Camping World Trucks from Nashville, TV Friday night.

As an off-week approaches for the Sprint Cup Series, SPEED finds itself with a little extra time available for special programs. Wednesday the network hosted a roundtable panel that looked back on the first half of the season.

Thursday night at 7PM ET, a special edition of RaceHub takes a look at the amazing journey of Shane Hmiel.

Veteran fans may remember the brash young man for his hard driving on the track. NASCAR asked Hmiel to leave the sport for his hard living away from it. Ultimately, Hmiel survived a horrific accident that resulted in changes to almost every part of his life. It was a life that many believe was spared for a reason.

"I started working on this in January,” said show host Steve Byrnes. "I wanted to go into the interview as open-minded as possible. I didn’t have a point of view. I just wanted to listen and Shane opened up about everything."

"What I walked away with was this," Byrnes continued. "Here is this guy in the prime of his life, who had turned his life around and now (after the accident) has every reason to be bitter. But his message is so positive, it inspired everyone in the room."

Byrnes has known Shane's father, NASCAR veteran and current EGR executive Steve, since 1985. In this TV special, both of Shane's parents as well as his brother Tyler and also family friends talk for the first time on national television about the ordeal.

We not not normally link videos, but this is a bit different. Click here for a view of Hmiel's accident in Terre Haute, Indiana. On a random day at a random track, Hmiel's car hooked a rut in the dirt and headed toward the fence in the worst possible way for the driver. There were no other cars on the track. Hmiel almost died alone.

Somehow, Hmiel defied the odds and survived. The story that has unfolded since that day in October of 2010 is about to be told on Thursday night in the words of those involved.

RaceHub is slowly becoming a powerful TV tool for SPEED. Developed originally as a Monday through Thursday half-hour, the network expanded the show to an hour and things began to click.

The rest of the puzzle fell into place when SPEED convinced Byrnes to come off the road and take a position as the host of the series. Few broadcasters are as versatile in TV and as knowledgeable about the sport as Byrnes.

Those who have screened the program have told me it is a very powerful hour with a storyline that represents the ultimate reality for those involved. It's an outstanding effort by Byrnes, SPEED and the RaceHub staff to put this project together.

We will use this post to host your comments before, during and after this TV special. To add your opinion on this topic, just click on the comments button below. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


glenc1 said...

I've been following Shane's story since his return to racing. In some ways, his story since his accident has been his mother's story as well...she's been incredibly strong. I know Steve will treat this with respect and compassion.

Marsha said...

glenc1, I so agree with you. I have followed his mother's facebook blog about Shane for many months. It has been a powerful story told in very short postings. She tells a lot in a few words. During the few days she doesn't post, I wonder what is happening with Shane and the family.

I'm recording the show as I get home around 6 and have to take care of the dogs first. I don't want to miss a moment. I think Steve will do a masterful job.

If it is the topic for the whole show, it should be quite comprehensive.

I remember Shane going back to his problems with drugs and throwing away so many good opportunities. It is great to know he is making his current circumstances be the best possible.

James said...

I am very happy to see SPEED allowing Steve Byrnes the time to put this effort on Shane together. This is a kid who was surrounded by the best of NASCAR, his dad who originally came from the same town as the Pembertons (Ballston Spa NY) and was a very close and trusted employee of Dale Sr. and was mentored and coached from the time he was born. Shane has a special personality and even with the injuries he suffers from it should come through the screen in a way that will touch your soul. When the term "FACE OF NASCAR" is used, Steve Byrnes is a fine example of a guy who paid his dues and learned his craft through hard work and credibility with relationships that are based on integrity, his view is always one of unbiased truth and he does not have to resort to "selling" an idea or issue to gain importance to the piece. While others may be better at PXP, Steve is probably the best interviewer and story teller in NASCAR. The "HUB" has become a newer version of the original ESPN show Speedweeks and IMO it is getting better and better with time.

Sophia said...

I LOVE STEVE BYRNES & know this will be excellent. He's one of the classiest guys in NASCAR sports (nothing against anybody else, ok!)

I got teary eyed just reading this post, JD, remembering all the things that Shane has gone through & must continue to go through (can't imagine!)...and if there are tough questions, i bet Steve will approach them tenderly.

I've got the DVR set & will have a box of tissues handy.

Looking forward to Steve & Shane's interview.

Continued thoughts & prayers for Shane's healing and to his mother,father, family & the medical team.

Lisa Hogan said...

I will record this show and watch it over the weekend.

GinaV24 said...

sounds like an interesting show tonight. Steve always does a great job with the personal and special interest stories so I will definitely plan to watch.

I remember Shane as an up and coming young driver, too.

Joseph said...

I remember Shane from Busch: 24/7, then as the kid who flipped off Dale Jarret. His multiple bannings from NASCAR were sad, then his rebirth as a clean & sober USAC driver heartwarming.

His interview with Dave Despain shortly before the crash gave me much hope for his future. Then..the crash. You couldn't script a more shocking triumph-to-tragedy, triumph-to-tragedy again, story. If a fiction writer tried, they'd say it wasn't believable.

YeOldTimeNascarFan said...

NASCAR needs more stories like this. Deep coverage of tough stories. Drivers with issues. Team's with money problems. Cheating. Systemic issues in the sport. The relationship between the media, NASCAR, the teams and the drivers is way too cozy. Look at the other major sports, MLB, NHL, NFL. The media doesn't pull its punches. Time to shake it up.

PammH said...

This is powerful TV w/Shane's story. Can't believe how much I think his brother sounds like Jeff Burton. Anyone else notice this?

Cinde said...

AWESOME piece!! What a fighter! An insperation to all!! Thank you for such great work!

glenc1 said...

Well done, of course, not that I expected less. Early on it seemed so unclear how he was going to recover, seeing this you can see the family didn't know either.

PammH, I noticed it too. Funny coincidence, I guess..Jeff posted a message at Shane's Facebook site early on...'elbows up!'I think it was. Steve H. was with Roush when Jeff was there.

red said...

what a terrific job by byrnes, the production crew & the folks from 3 wide life. but special praise for the entire hmiel family.

i've been a shane fan since his days racing in the busch series and was so very disappointed when his addictions resulted in him being tossed from nascar. i kept wondering how he was faring while he was in that very dark place and when he resurfaced, ready to race once again, he was a very different young man.

i've been working on a sermon or reflection about shane since the wreck and the power of prayer and every time i think it's ready to go, he does something else and i have to keep rewriting it! the latest draft now needs to update to cover shane's visit to the mayo clinic and his work with the doctors there.

my fervent hope is that i have to keep revising it until shane walks -- and maybe gets that race team going for another young racer or two!

again, a big thank you and props to everyone involved in the project. it was a stellar segment and showcased the very best that nascar can produce for television. if i weren't a steve byrnes fan before tonight, i'd certainly be one now!

keep the hmiels in your prayers and we'll get shane walking again!

Sophia said...

Great piece on Shane!!

Pitiful the 1st Dr was SO WRONG about his condition!?!? Mind boggling in some ways, but not shocking in others, sadly (Family grew up working in hospitals & in law was a Dr/surgeon so I know the hospital is a horrible place to be & doctors in ER is a crapshoot)

But to be that far off was horrible for the family endure. Wow.

Powerful piece.

Sophia said...

p.s. My only quibble, why was the Jimmy Spencer segment introduced as the "Friday Segment"? Producer flub up? It's Thursday in Ohio :)

Oh and I truly think, as do others before me, the measure of a person is shown in how they handle adversity. Shane is the epitome of that!

Roland said...

The first 30 minutes reminded me of why I dont watch Race Hub. The Jimmy Spencer segment was horrible. However, the Shane segment was well done. That was a great piece. My opinion of Shane has changed now. Now I know why he did some of the things he did. Doesnt make them right, but its so rare in this business to know the whole story. This piece gave me that. Well done, kudos, and good job Speed and Steve Byrnes.

PammH said...

Sophia-they called it Their Fri segment because they aren't on Fridays, imo.

rich said...

Thank you Steve Byrnes and thank you Speed for letting this piece come to fruition. Very inspirational show.
Keep working Shane

Marsha said...

Excellent piece on Shane and a broad overview of the before and after Shane.

I have much more insight into Tyler and Steve. Their comments were so touching and heart breaking.

Lisa's blog has kept people updated almost daily on Shane and indirectly her.

The piece didn't touch much on the struggles with insurance and finding places that could help Shane.

Although it was probably her desire, Lisa's role in Shane's care and recovery was very understated. She is totally dedicated to Shane's recovery. I admire her so much.

The entire Hmiel family is to be commended for sharing so much. If only the bipolar diagnosis had been made sooner, Shane would have had a smoother earlier life, but yet he says he doesn't regret anything.

Steve Byrnes you are the best at what you do. Larry Mac - I could have done without.

Race Hub - keep up the good work.

Stuman714 in Indy said...

Excellent show on Shane. Good luck to this fine young man!

coachkevin64 said...

All I can say to Speed,Steve Byrnes and # wide Life is
CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!and thank you. Job well done.

West Coast Diane said...

Excellent. Agree with YeOld...need more of this in depth of team struggles, individual triumphs, etc.

Shane is fortunate in one other aspect. That being bi-polar and using drugs he didn't become mentally ill. Happened to my great niece.

Shocked that Methodist Hospital got a number of things wrong. But then, when my 97 year old Dad fell last year we were told by ER doctor xray showed broken hip. Next day, after orthopedic surgeon called in, told hip was broken.

Buschseries61 said...

I had time to watch this on the DVR today. The segment deserved to stand on its own in a seperate 30 minute show. I thought the somber tone was a strange contrast with the feel of rest of the agenda on Race Hub. Byrnes deserves credit asking Dunlap & Pemberton on their memories of Hmiel. Again, it felt slightly disjointed from the feel of the show. It would have been interesting to hear SPEED media members like Dunlap, McReynolds, & Pemberton together right before or after the segment adding insight on his racing life.

The segment itself was emotional and well documented. I found it thought provoking, and a reminder of how delicate life is. The Hmiel family opened up their hearts and minds to the world and sent out a good message. The historic footage was great and brought back memories from years ago. It's clear Byrnes worked hard on this, he and his team did a wonderful job.

After the segment, we returned to the heavy metal guitar music on the set of RaceHub. Byrnes kept a serious tone, but the enviornment around him screamed the exact opposite. Byrnes ended the show on an uplifiting note, but his quote and words of wisdom again battled the heavy strums of the guitar. It's a shame, since everyone would rather let Byrnes set the tone than the pre-packaged music.