Home Steve Park Appearances Pictures Extras News Forum FanListing

Hmiel halts repeat hopes of Orleans Racing

Winner grabs lead with seven laps left; Park falls to third after dominating race


Steve Park almost made it the second straight year Las Vegas-based Orleans Racing won the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, but after dominating Saturday night's competition the celebration shifted to Shane Hmiel.

Hmiel took the lead with seven laps remaining to post his first victory in the truck series when he passed veteran Todd Bodine and Park finished third in front of an estimated crowd of 80,000.

"I promised myself after I won my first (NASCAR) race I'd buy myself a diamond Rolex, and I'm going out to do that tomorrow," Hmiel said.

"We've been so close and so many things happened to us. This is an awesome feeling."

Park was disappointed that he didn't retain the title for Orleans Racing, but he was not too upset the winner was Hmiel, whose previous best this year in 18 truck races was second.

"Congratulations to Shane," Park said. "I've known him since he was a little kid."

Were it not for what Park said "were a set of tires that just didn't like the racetrack," it could have been Park celebrating his first win.

Park started 18th in the 36-truck field but raced to the front quickly and took his first lead on the 33rd of 146 laps.

"The truck just got tight at the end and the tires just lost grip and that was it," said Park, whose teammate Scott Lynch finished 19th.

"After leading all those laps it's just is a little disappointing."

Mike Skinner, who won his first truck pole in 31 races that dates to 1996 before he began driving full time in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, led from the start until the first caution flag come out on the 21st lap. He stayed on the track during the caution while drivers running in the top-10 pitted.

Skinner and Park, however, stayed on the track, and the two former Cup drivers battled nose to tail for seven laps. Park took the lead on the 33rd lap when he got past Skinner by driving low into the third turn. Skinner then lost second to Carl Edwards four laps later.

Edwards, who dropped out with engine problems midway through the race, inherited the lead after another caution on lap 39 when Park pitted along with Skinner.

Matt Crafton got around Edwards on lap 55 for the lead and Park worked his way back to fourth.

On lap 61, Park moved up to second, 1.36 seconds behind Crafton, then passed him for the lead four laps later.

Park had built his lead to 5.5 seconds when the race's third yellow flag came out on lap 76, but after he and the other top runner pitted, Park held the lead on the restart.

After another caution from laps 87-91, Park held the lead with Skinner back on his bumper, just four truck lengths behind.

But after getting his last set of tires during a pit stop on lap 79, Todd Bodine, a former winner of the NASCAR Busch Series race in Las Vegas, began gaining steam and passed Park on lap 117.

But Hmiel had been the fastest car on the track for several laps before he finally was able to get around Bodine after gently nudging Bodine's car.

Home  |  Steve Park  |  Appearances  |  News  |  Pictures  |  Extras  |  Fanlisting  |  Fan Club  |  Forum  |  Merchandise  |  GuestBook  |  Harley
© 2002-2004 Cyber Speed Design