Hmiel docked points, fined for Bristol incident
April 6, 2005
03:09 PM EDT (19:09 GMT)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Shane Hmiel was fined $10,000 and docked 25 points in the standings by NASCAR on Wednesday for making an obscene gesture at Dale Jarrett during the Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this week.
Hmiel was caught on his in-car camera flipping his middle finger at Jarrett after Jarrett leaned inside the window to complain about an accident Hmiel had caused during Monday's race.
The image was shown on live television.
"We are hopeful that Shane Hmiel will realize he is a professional race car driver and he needs to conduct himself as such," NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.
Hmiel caused the last of 14 cautions during Monday's race when Jarrett slowed to avoid an accident, then was hit from behind by Hmiel.
Jarrett exited his car and walked half the front stretch to Hmiel's car to confront him. Jarrett's day was over, and Hmiel went on to a 12th-place finish.
Hmiel was ninth in the points standings before the deduction, and did not drop after the penalty. Car owner Todd Braun was also docked 25 points as part of the penalty.
NASCAR has drawn criticism from its competitors over the past week for docking drivers points for infractions that are not race-related. Hunter said the complaints prove the method of punishment is working.
He also defended NASCAR for continuing its practice of penalizing drivers for their behavior.
Last year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fined and docked points for cursing in a Victory Lane interview.
"We don't want to be a plastic sport and we certainly want our competitors to be able to express themselves," Hunter said. "But there is a fine line between acting professionally and this went over the line."
Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 20 Chevrolet, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 31, 2005, for hitting another competitor's car after the completion of the race, a violation of 12-4-A.
Additionally, four crew chiefs received fines after being found in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules).
•Brian Pattie, crew chief of the No. 41 Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson, was fined $2,000 for unapproved lug nuts on all four (4) wheels.
•Blake Bainbridge, crew chief of the No. 64 Dodge driven by Jeremy Mayfield, was fined $500 for unapproved lug nuts on one (1) wheel.
•Also, Todd Gordon, crew chief for the No. 10 Ford driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. and James Ward, crew chief of the No. 22 Ford of Kenny Wallace, were each fined $500 due to not having a rear bumper reinforcement bar.