Baytown: The youngest Hines looking for first career win

BAYTOWN, Texas - He's 19 years old and he drives a Harley-Davidson but he still has the Hines name. Andrew Hines, son of legendary tuner Byron Hines and younger brother of three-time Pro Stock Bike champion Matt Hines, is one of the newest faces...

BAYTOWN, Texas - He's 19 years old and he drives a Harley-Davidson but he still has the Hines name. Andrew Hines, son of legendary tuner Byron Hines and younger brother of three-time Pro Stock Bike champion Matt Hines, is one of the newest faces in the two-wheel category in 2003.

Hines turned heads at the bike season opener in Gainesville, Fla. in March when he became the first rider to qualify in the 16-bike field with a factory-backed Harley-Davidson. The only other Harley to qualify was Dan Baisley, who rode a modified Harley engine into the field at the Brainerd, Minn. event in 1998.

Not only did the youngest Hines ride a Harley into the field at Gainesville, he won two rounds, advancing to the semifinals. He lost to Geno Scali in the third round of competition, but was still pleased with the first race results.

Hines will be looking to win more rounds with his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson at the 16th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, April 10-13. The $1.9 million race is the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the second of 15 events for the Pro Stock Bike category.

Hines made his professional debut in Denver last season, qualifying for the last seven events of the season on a Suzuki. Before 2003, the team opted to expand the Harley program to two riders. Hines joined fellow teenage competitor GT Tonglet on the V-Rod bikes.

Tonglet and the Harley team failed to qualify for a race in seven attempts last season. Tonglet qualified No. 26 out of 35 riders in Gainesville.

"When Harley-Davidson decided to get involved with drag racing, they came to the right people to get it done," Hines said. "We are out here to please Harley. It's awesome that my bike qualified for the first race of the season, but we need to get both bikes qualified. That is our main objective right now.

"GT's bike was plagued with a few small problems on every pass. We need to get back to the shop and do some more work. Hopefully we can find more power sooner than later and have two Harleys in the field every Sunday."

Matt Hines announced in February that he would not race in 2003 in hopes of lending an extra hand in developing the Harley program.

"Matt has been a tremendous help," the younger Hines said. "He has a lot of experience and he really helped my dad figure out the fuel injection system we run in the Harley. It is unfortunate for him that he had to take time off to help us, but we have already improved from last year and it is really going to pay off in the long run."

With only one race behind him, Hines is already looking toward the future.

"I want to be on the Harley team for a long time to come," he said. "The guys who were out here last year did all the research and development that is making it possible for us to be competitive. We just need to keep qualifying, win some rounds and keep Harley in the sport for a long time."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Geno Scali , Andrew Hines , GT Tonglet