Hmiel out until at least 2007: Driver Shane Hmiel, suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on June 3 after failing a second substance abuse test, won't return before 2007. Hmiel, son of longtime crew chief and team official Steve Hmiel, was suspended through 2006 Wednesday and faces an evaluation after next season before he's allowed to return to racing. He was first suspended in September 2003 after failing a substance abuse test. Hmiel completed a prescribed rehabilitation program and was reinstated for NASCAR competition in February 2004. The 25-year-old driver was tested again after qualifying for a Busch Series race last month in Concord, N.C. He was permitted to race, but was suspended several days later after NASCAR received a positive result from the test. NASCAR said it will lay out a road map for Hmiel's possible reinstatement in 2007, including a rehabilitation program that will include medical and psychological reviews, as well as frequent testing.
More on the F1 fiasco: The president of Formula One's governing body thinks Michelin should compensate fans who bought tickets for the United States Grand Prix fiasco. "My personal view is that Michelin should offer to compensate the fans on a fair basis," Max Mosley said Wednesday in a FIA statement. "Anyone who had a ticket this year would be entitled to the same ticket free of charge next year." French company Michelin provides seven of the 10 F1 teams with tires. Only six cars -- using Bridgestone tires -- started the race after 14 drivers left the track following the warmup lap. Michelin unsuccessfully asked FIA to ease its rule prohibiting teams from changing tires after qualifying. FIA also refused to consider installing a curve that Michelin said would slow speeds and make the track safer for its tires. Michelin then advised its teams not to compete. Mosley defended the decision not to allow the chicane. "It would have been unfair, against the rules and potentially dangerous," Mosley said. "To radically change a circuit like Indianapolis ... would be a disadvantage to the teams which had brought correct equipment to the race. Why should the Bridgestone teams suddenly find they had gone all the way to America to run in a non-Championship race? It would be like saying there could be no medals in the Olympic rowing because some countries had brought the wrong boats."
Cook makes Cup debut: Chris Cook has driven thousands of laps on the 1.99-mile road course at Infineon Raceway as a driving school instructor. But he is trying to keep his goals realistic for his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut in this week's Dodge/Save Mart 350. Cook is driving a Chevrolet for owner-driver Joe Nemechek's NEMCO Motorsports in the two road races in Cup and the two road races in the Busch Series this season. He qualified 16th and finished 26th in the Busch race earlier this year in Mexico City. Today he attempts to qualify for the 43-car field for Sunday's Cup race at his home track. Cook, a native of Sonoma, Calif., served as an instructor at the Bondurant Road Racing School from 1992-2002, where he worked with such NASCAR drivers as Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney and Tim Fedewa.
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