NASCAR's Inspirations

Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Denny Hamlin and Shane Hmiel - NASCAR Inspirations

1/12/14 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

As testing got underway at Daytona last week, one of the most covered stories in the media was undoubtedly that of Tony Stewart's recovery.  By all accounts he is on track to compete at Speedweeks and in the Daytona 500.  

Tony joins a group of drivers who have overcome adversity to return to racing.  Some of those drivers have experienced physical injury, some have faced drug use, others have battled medical situations not at all of their own making.
Blog Photo - NASCAR's Inspirations
Tony addressed the media numerous times during the testing session.  His injury occured while he was racing in the Sprint Car Series, during a multi-car wreck on august 5th, 2013. Tony's car  crashed when he tried to avoid a spinning lap car in front of him.  That crash broke both the tibia and fibia in his right leg, and resulted in numerous surgeries and a very long rehabilitation.  In fact, Tony acknowledges that his recovery is still not complete, but he is working hard with his physio-therapist, and even harder on his mental preparedness.  Although his body may not be at 100 percent when the green flag drops at Daytona, he vows he will be mentally 100 percent.  Now that is inspirational.

Then there is Jeremy Mayfield.

Shane Hmiel battled a drug addiction back in the years when he was an up and coming Nationwide Series driver and was suspended from competition.  He sought treatment and returned, was treated and returned once again, only to be suspended again, this time indefinintely.  Once again Shane sought help, always with the majority of NASCAR's elite behind him, supporting him, cheering him on.  Shane overcame his demons, and returned to racing, in the USAC series, but racing all the same.  Then, on October 9th, 2010, Shane was involved in a horrific crash at Terre Haute, IN.  That video was taken by a fan.  Now watch the same video with Shane explaining what happened.

That crash almost ended his life.  It did paralyze him.  What happened next is nothing short of inspirational.  

Blog Photo - NASCAR's InspirationsI was always a fan of Shane's, and even while he was battling his drug demons, while I felt he had no place on the race track, I wished him the very best.  I followed his return to racing after his recovery, and when he was paralyzed, I joined those who wished him the very best, and I've been following his physical recovery ever since.  On Facebook, his family join to post his updates, and yes, his setbacks.  They posted the story of his beloved dog, Lucy, who was almost fatally injured this summer in a lawn mower accident, and her permanent limitations.  She was left blinded in one eye, and endured numerous sugeries to close the wound in her face.  Now she and Shane fight even harder together.  

Not too long ago, Shane's mother recorded that he had movement in one foot.  Not only that, but Shane signed a card to his mother, himself.  He returned to the race track two years after his accident, for the first time since his indefinite ban.  He has started a race team, and honors Jason Leffler with his cars, numbered 56J and 56L.  

He is making progress and continues to fight.  He continues to be an inspiration.

Then there is Jeremy Mayfield.

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