NASCAR WCUP: Steve Hmiel Signs 3-Year Deal With DEI
2 November 1998Dale Earnhardt Inc announced Sunday the signing of Steve Hmiel to a 3-year contract that calls for the longtime crew chief to oversee DEI's motorsports operations for its Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman truck teams.
Hmiel will oversee all of the technical development and testing for DEI's three existing teams as well as the development of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new Winston Cup team. Hmiel will also coordinate DEI's involvement in RAD -- the new aerodynamics alliance DEI formed with Richard Childress Racing and Andy Petree Racing. Other duties include the development of the 1999 Monte Carlo and implementing race day pit strategy.
"Since Steve joined us a month ago, he's shown us a commitment to our race teams," said Earnhardt. "He's shown us that he is a team player. We've sent him to the Busch test Rockingham, the Las Vegas truck test, and Steve has traveled all around the country with the Pennzoil team.
"Steve brings a great deal of experience to a young team and a young organization, and all of our teams are excited about it."
Hmiel said he will work closely with DEI crew chiefs Philippe Lopez, Tony Eury and Fred Graves transferring internal information among the teams as well as working externally with General Motors and RAD to bring new information to DEI.
"This is a fairly easy decision," Hmiel said. "When I came here I wanted to see what this place was like. But these guys enjoy their jobs and really want to build something in this sport and that's why I want to be part of this operation."
Hmiel, 44, a Syracuse, N.Y. native, worked at Roush racing since its formation in 1987 helping Mark Martin's team to eight consecutive finishes in the top six in the standings between 1989 and 1996. Hmiel and Martin combined for 18 victories, 30 pole positions, 111 top-five finishes and 160 top-10 performances in 228 starts. From 1997 until last month, Hmiel served as general manager of Roush Racing's Liberty, N.C. - based operation as well as crew chief for Johnny Benson's car.