NASCAR hands out lifetime ban to Hmiel

Saturday, February 25, 2006

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Driver Shane Hmiel has been suspended from competition for life by NASCAR after failing a third substance abuse test.

"Shane failed to fulfill the prescribed rehabilitation program scheduled by NASCAR," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday. "As a result, Shane has forfeited his opportunity to compete in any NASCAR-sanctioned events."

Asked if there is any possibility of Hmiel racing in NASCAR sometime in the future, he said, "No, it is a lifetime ban."

Hmiel, the 26-year-old son of longtime crew chief and team official Steve Hmiel, was first suspended in September 2003 after failing a test. He completed a required rehabilitation program and was reinstated for NASCAR competition in February 2004.

But he was suspended again last June after failing a second substance abuse test.

NASCAR had laid out a road map for Hmiel's possible reinstatement in 2007 that included medical and psychological reviews and frequent testing. NASCAR said Hmiel failed one of those tests.

NASCAR's Substance Abuse Policy, based on "reasonable suspicion," allows the sanctioning organization to broadly administer tests virtually any time, anywhere.

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