Dale Jarrett=Class vs Shane Hmiel=Aw, You Know

Dale Jarrett’s final Cup race (until Michael McDowell falls outside the top 35) comes this Sunday at Bristol. His career is filled with great memories, but one of my fondest memories of Jarrett in recent years was a lesser known memory.

It happened at the 2005 Bristol Busch race. It was entertaining at the time, but even more so now. Be sure to watch for the quote at the 4:19 mark.

If NASCAR had their own version of VH1’s I love the 80’s, they would have a feature on Shane Hmiel. They could have Elliott Sadler or Marty Smith saying, “Remember Shane Hmiel? He was that guy that flipped off Dale Jarrett.” And then flunked his second drug test in less than two years.

  • Strike one for Hmiel is when he wrecks Jarrett in the closing laps.
  • Strike two, he pulls the 7th-grader tactic of flipping off Jarrett after Dale had turned his back. Of course it looks incredibly smooth with an in-car camera capturing the whole thing (Hmiel was fined and docked 25 points and had to write “I will not violate section 12.4.A” 100 times on Mike Helton’s whiteboard).
  • Strike three, and the most amusing part of the incident, came in the post race interview.

He [Jarrett] threatened he’d get me and all that stuff, but he’d better hurry up because he ‘aint got much longer.

Hmiel turned out to be correct. Jarrett didn’t have long to retaliate before Hmiel was quickly gone from NASCAR, presumably for good. It’s also amusing how tough Hmiel acted when strapped into his car or during the interview. Things would have changed outside the car where Jarrett’s physical presence would shrink Hmiel.

Jarrett summed up his character with his actions too.

For some context, this race was run on a Monday after a rain delay so there wasn’t a lot of incentive for a veteran Cup drive to care or excel. But based on Jarrett’s emotions, it mattered to him just as much as a Cup race. After the wreck Jarrett was obviously mad, but still in control. The way he calmly but intensely walks towards Hmiel’s car said everything about DJ’s competitive fire. He then told Hmiel what he thought without lapsing into an outburst.

Ultimately Jarrett outlasted the punk, which is pretty sweet vindication. As usual Jarrett came out of the incident with class, which is just one of the reasons why he’ll be missed so much.”