Shane Hmiel¿s late-race charge pays off for Las Vegas 350 win;

Scores first Craftsman Truck Series victory after starting 21st

 

            Shane Hmiel chased down race leader Todd Bodine in the closing laps of the Las Vegas 350 to earn his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in just 19 starts.  The Pleasant Garden, N.C., driver also is the series¿ youngest winner and the 10th driver to score a Truck win in the 2004 season.

            ¿To come here and run well on a big track like this ¿ when I normally run better on short tracks ¿ and win¿that shows how good my team is,¿ said Hmiel.  ¿We had great pit stops tonight and we qualified 21st and won the race.  To do that is really big, I think.  Everybody raced us clean and I barely got into Todd.  I just glad to get into victory lane.¿

            Hmiel was asked if he knew he could pass race leader Bodine if he caught him in the closing laps.

            ¿No.  I could see him.  He was well into (turn) three and I was going into (turn) two.  I thought, ¿second I can get.¿  Then I was thinking, ¿well, I can get first place¿ and I just ran right up there.  And I got there and I said, ¿there¿s no way I gonna not win this race.¿  I¿ve come too close too many times.  We did a little bump ¿n¿ run and won the race.¿ 

            The win also is the first win for Whitaker Farm Chevrolet team owner Billy Ballew and crew chief Richie Wauters.

            Todd Bodine finished second.  Third was Steve Park in the Las Vegas-based Orleans Racing Dodge.  Park¿s Orleans Racing teammate for the Las Vegas race, Scott Lynch, finished 19th.

            Current series points leader Bobby Hamilton finished ninth.

            Carl Edwards, favored to win the race, finished 33rd after his engine expired in lap 101.

            Brandon Whitt won the Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award.  Sixteen Trucks finished on the lead lap.

 

Unofficial finish ¿ Las Vegas 350.

  1. Shane Hmiel.
  2. Todd Bodine.
  3. Steve Park.
  4. Johnny Benson.
  5. Bobby Hamilton.
  6. Mike Skinner.
  7. Dennis Setzer.
  8. Ted Musgrave.
  9. Terry Cook.
  10. David Starr.
  11. Rick Crawford.
  12. Jon Wood.
  13. Brandon Whitt.
  14. Andy Houston.
  15. J.R. Patton.
  16. Chad Chaffin.
  17. David Reutimann.
  18. Tracy Hines.
  19. Scott Lynch.
  20. Brandon Miller.
  21. Hank Parker Jr.
  22. Matt Crafton.
  23. Denny Hamlin.
  24. Bill Lester.
  25. Eric Jones.
  26. Shane Sieg.
  27. Chase Montgomery.
  28. Travis Kvapil.
  29. Ken Weaver.
  30. Rick Bogart.
  31. Robert Huffman.
  32. Deborah Renshaw.
  33. Carl Edwards.
  34. David Ragan.
  35. Kelly Sutton.
  36. Jack Sprague.

 

Bourdais wins inaugural Bridgestone 400 Presented By Corona

 

            Points leader and oddsmaker¿s favorite Sebastien Bourdais won the inaugural Champ Car World Series Bridgestone 400 Presented By Corona at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday night.  Tonight¿s victory the ninth his career and his sixth of the 2004 season.  Bourdais, born in Le Mans, France, has a 27-point lead with two races remaining on the 2004 Champ Car World Series schedule.

            ¿All the credit goes to the Newman-Haas team and the McDonald¿s crew.  They gave me the perfect setup to be able to run the car anywhere on the race track ¿ and most important of all, to stay flat in traffic.  What can I say?  I thought the race was over after an incident in the pits after our first pit stop.  I was seventh or something like that.  Once I took the lead I was making the car stick on the inside, so it was just about the pits stops.  The guys did an amazing job, they did not make mistakes anymore (after the first pit stop) and we won.  I am so happy after two frustrating weekends in Montreal and Laguna Seca where we probably had one of the fastest cars.  Finally, it¿s rewarded.¿

 

Bridgestone 400 Presented By Corona -- official

1. Sebastien Bourdais.

2. Bruno Junquiera.

3. Patrick Carpentier.

4. Rodolfo Lavin.

5. Jimmy Vasser.

6. A.J. Allmendinger.

7. Mario Dominguez.

8. Justin Wilson.

9. Nelson Philippe.

10. Roberto Gonzalez.

11. Michel Jourdain Jr.

12. Oriol Servia.

13. Ryan Hunter-Reay.

14. Mario Haberfeld.

15. Gaston Mazzacane.

16. Alex Tagliani.

17. Guy Smith.

18. Paul Tracy.