HMIEL TO SERVE AS “HOOSIER HUNDRED” GRAND MARSHAL
Shane Hmiel, the winner of last year’s “Hoosier Hundred,” will be among numerous former race winners expected to be on hand Friday when the historic race unfolds on the mile dirt oval at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
Hmiel, continuing his recuperation from injuries suffered in a late-2010 racing accident, will serve as the Grand Marshal and will be joined by a number of former winners who will be in Indianapolis for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Indianapolis 500.
Friday night’s 100-mile race will again be split into two segments, as was last year’s exciting 100-miler. The race will be stopped at 51 miles for an intermission, then restarted. Last year’s event produced unprecedented late-race passing, resulting in Hmiel’s emotional victory.
USAC TRAXXAS Silver Crown Championship point leader Levi Jones of Olney, Ill. will be back to seek his first victory in the storied race after a second in 1006 and winning the pole for last year’s race.
Friday night’s race opens the 2011 TRAXXAS Silver Crown season and could become part of a unique “double,” if Bryan Clauson’s aspirations are achieved. Clauson will compete in Friday afternoon’s “Freedom 100” Firestone Indy Lights race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then compete in Friday night’s Hoosier Hundred, seeking to become the first to post victories in both races.
Jay Drake attempted to win both in 2005 and posted respectable finishes in both races, with a third in the “Freedom 100” and a fourth in the “Hoosier Hundred.”
“I’m not sure Bryan needs any advice from me on this opportunity,” says Drake. “He’s very versatile, having raced in all of USAC’s National series and done more than one race in a day several times. I think the biggest challenge will be to focus on which car he’s in and being confident of his team and his equipment. Plus, the added challenge of the time frame. That was one thing I was worried about, but I was able to drive to the Fairgrounds and still have time to switch over to the dirt race. Obviously when I did both on the same day, I had already competed in the Indy Lights at IMS the previous year, but not on the same day as the Hoosier Hundred. That helped. He and I both share the advantage of racing for Tony Stewart, who was a big help, but the change from the 190-mph-plus speeds at Indy to the 100-plus speeds on the dirt is significant and you have to adjust mentally. It’s truly a mind game and it makes for a long day."