Indycar president Randy Bernard is open to the idea of having suspended ex-NASCAR drivers join his open-wheel racing series.
In an interview with Foxsports.com’s Lee Spencer, Bernard talked about the possibility of having 3-time suspended NASCAR driver Shane Hmiel ending up in an Indycar:
FOXSPORTS.COM:NASCAR is no longer an option for Shane Hmiel, who failed three drug tests and is banned for life. But he is one of the young hot kids in USAC and he’s looking for another chance. Is IndyCar a place where he could make his mark?
BERNARD: You bet! I’m excited to see Shane compete with us. Everyone says he’s a great driver and we’re going to give him a chance. I think that’s very important. Everyone deserves a chance and we’re committed to making sure that he has that opportunity. He’s exactly what I’m talking about. He’s a dirt track, short track, Americana and if he makes it over here it’s going to be a great storyline. And that’s the type of thing that we need to develop, the embrace him and give him the opportunity to succeed.
Hearing what Bernard had to say about Hmiel, I can’t help but think that Jeremy Mayfield in IRL would be an even better story than Hmiel.
Think about it. Here’s a guy who just went through an epic mid-life crisis. For all we know, the guy was framed by one of America’s largest corporations: NASCAR. He fought tooth-and-nail to win, but unfortunately came up short due to financial problems.
Simply put, NASCAR had a lot more money than Mayfield.
He had to sell his house, sell his team, sell almost everything he owns, and he’s still in debt.
We know Hmiel was guilty of doing drugs at least three times. We don’t know that Mayfield truly was guilty. But once NASCAR brought him down, the world kicked him time and time again. He’s taken beatings from the media. Beatings from the fans. Beating from the other NASCAR drivers.
Here’s a guy who is literally going up against the world. And for all we know, he may be innocent.
The odds of a Jeremy Mayfield comeback story are slim-to-none. He’s a middle-aged man with an irreparably damaged reputation.
But if somebody in the IRL were to give Jeremy Mayfield a chance, like the chance Shane Hmiel may be getting ready to receive, that would potentially put a once-tarnished, middle-aged man with no hope, in the starting field for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Now wouldn’t that be a story.