By Rick Houston
Going into the 1988 Winston Cup season, the plan as Steve Hmiel understood it seemed simple enough.
Serving as team manager for the brand-new Roush Racing organization at the time, Hmiel figured the best way to ease the program into NASCAR’s hotly contested waters with driver Mark Martin was to run a limited schedule … just superspeedways. No short tracks. No road courses. No one-mile tracks. That way, Hmiel, Martin, crew chief Robin Pemberton and new NASCAR owner Jack Roush could concentrate their efforts into a handful of races, rather than ALL of them.
That’s not the way it worked out. The team’s official announcement was made in the days leading up to the 1987 Winston Cup banquet, and it was then and there, inside that press conference room in New York City, that Hmiel and Martin discovered that instead of a limited schedule, the team would instead be running all 29 races in 1988. That meant a scramble to prepare that they simply hadn’t expected.
The going wasn’t always smooth in the earliest days of what would eventually become one of the sport’s most influential powerhouses. There was, at times, a tug of war between Roush’s base of operations in Michigan and his fledgling NASCAR operation in North Carolina. It was from those humble beginnings, however, that Martin and Roush would one day be enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This … this is how it all began.
For more than 32 years, Grand National/Winston Cup/NASCAR Scene writers and photographers were there to record NASCAR history as it was being made. Join hosts Rick Houston and Steve Waid each week on The Scene Vault Podcast Presented by Q Ware as they take a look back at the extraordinary people, places and events woven into the rich tapestry that is our sport.
To hear the entire podcast, visit The Scene Vault on iTunes.
To watch the complete interview, visit The Scene Vault YouTube channel.
You can further support their efforts at Patreon.