News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

October 12, 2010

Frightening finish to season at Terre Haute Action Track

TERRE HAUTE — The 2010 Terre Haute Action Track season came to a climactic close over the weekend. Unfortunately, the campaign closed on a near-tragic note for the second consecutive year.

The season finale, Saturday’s Sumar Classic, had all the makings of a great night of racing:  perfect weather, a stellar field of cars and drivers and racing surface that drew the praise of competitors and fans alike.

At the end of the night, however, it wasn’t the great racing and wild finish that was the major topic of conversation. Instead it was the unknown fate of injured driver Shane Hmiel.

Even the one person that should have been the happiest competitor in attendance at the track, race-winner Levi Jones, had difficulty mustering a smile at evening’s end.

The horrific crash that many feared had Hmiel’s life hanging in the balance drained the emotions of all those gathered.

Sadly, for the second time in as many season finales at the Fairgrounds, the ugly side of the violent and often unforgiving aspects of open-wheel racing had reared its ugly head.

Much to his credit and professionalism, Jones still found the strength to grant interviews, sign autographs and greet many of his supporters at the end of the long night.

Jones’ father had left the track soon after the Hmiel accident to go to Indianapolis to be with Shane and his crew. Levi was receiving conflicting updates on the condition of his fellow racer and close friend.

Jones was visibly upset with the circumstances surrounding the accident and injuries to his close friend.

“It’s not a good night,” moaned Jones. “Shane is probably one of my best friends in racing.”

“It’s like I’m not even here. It’s that unreal. There at the end I really didn’t want the race to be over. Even with two laps to go because I never like going to the hospital. I’m thankful [Hmiel] is at Indianapolis and has good doctors. He was there for me last year when I needed him. I’ll be there for him now,” vowed the Olney, Ill., racer.

The Hmiel incident overshadowed what was a classic night of racing during the 100-lap feature — probably some of the best ever in the 12-year history of the Sumar Classic.

The racing generated an intense battle between Jones, Dave Darland and Bud Kaeding in the early stages, then Jones and Darland towards the end.

Silver Crown racing was at its finest, fueled with a series of yellow-flag restarts that added drama and excitement at each turn. The closing stages of the race took on more the appearances of a weekly Saturday night shootout at a tiny bull ring rather than one at a big and fast half-miler.

And who better to stage those daring bonsai passing attempts and unnerving slide jobs than two of USAC’s finest, Jones and Darland.

Putting his emotions aside, Jones reflected on his battle with Darland over the closing laps.

“I don’t think I could have raced much harder. I know [Darland] is one of the best at running on the cushion. You know when Dave Darland has a chance to win a race he’s going to be on his game,” said Jones.

On the fateful move that decided the final outcome, Jones said he felt fortunate to be the eventful survivor of the many jabs the pair had thrown at each other over the closing laps..

“[Darland] brought a slider and was wide open when he got to the cushion. He was going to fast. He tipped the 56 car over and I was able to turn underneath him. That’s what built this place. Why it’s fun to come here. It’s awesome to win at Terre Haute,” he said.

Darland’s rare miscue and resulting series of rollovers dashed what could have yet been another win for car owner Brad Fox at the Action Track this season.

Jon Stanbrough had piloted Fox’s sprint car to three wins here in 2010. The veteran car owner and former driver took the chain of events in stride.

“You’re going to have those nights. When you’re going for the win you do what you have to do. Everybody gave it their best shot. We just happened to be the one with the bent race car,” conceded Fox.

Darland accepted defeat like the consummate pro he is.

“It’s a disappointment. We really could have used a win. There were just too many yellows there at the end,” voiced the defending race winner.

“At the same time it was encouraging to the see the race track in such great shape. [Reece and Jarrod O’Connor] who worked the track gave us a great track,” praised Darland.

With his win and Kaeding’s early problems and eventual 15th-place finish, Jones pulled within a single point of the championship lead. The title will be decided this weekend in the Rollie Beale 150 at Toledo, Ohio.

With a strong showing Jones could emerge as both the USAC sprint car and Silver Crown champion for 2010. He faces a monumental week.

“It’s going to be hard to focus on any one thing this week. We’ve got Toledo coming up. Shane’s banged up and I’ve got a baby coming at any time,” he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
SPT 072614 TOM JONES LEADER.jpg

Tribune-Star/Bob PoynterLeader: Tom Jones is leading going into Sunday's final round of the Men's City Championship at Hulman Links on Sunday.

Local Interest
SPT 072614 TOM JONES LEADER.jpg

Tribune-Star/Bob PoynterLeader: Tom Jones is leading going into Sunday's final round of the Men's City Championship at Hulman Links on Sunday.

High School
College
Sports Columns
Pro Sports
SPT 072314 PHEGLEY LINE.jpg

It was the Knights' day: Charlotte's Josh Phegley, center, high fives teammates and coaching staff after the Knights defeated the Indianapolis Indians 8-4 on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Terre Haute Rex
Colts
Auto Racing
AP Auto Racing News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Today in History for July 28th Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News