HINES RIDES INTO FIFTH CONSECUTIVE SEMIFINAL ON BOARD SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD Hines Cuts Points Deficit in NHRA POWERade Championship Chase JOLIET, Ill. (June 12, 2006) -- Not only did Andrew Hines ride his Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle/Vance...
HINES RIDES INTO FIFTH CONSECUTIVE SEMIFINAL ON BOARD SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD
Hines Cuts Points Deficit in NHRA POWERade Championship Chase
JOLIET, Ill. (June 12, 2006) -- Not only did Andrew Hines ride his Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod into the semifinal round for the fifth consecutive Pro Stock Motorcycle race, but he made the rounds count. The two-time defending NHRA series champion didn't win the race on Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, but he sliced the points lead down from 36 to just 14 points behind class leader Angelle Sampey.
Hines beat teammate GT Tonglet for the third consecutive race, turning in a 7.125-second pass at 190.24 mph over Tonglet's 7.163 at 185.54 in the first round of competition. He went on to beat Antron Brown in Round Two. Hines recorded a 7.081 pass at 188.73 while Brown fouled at the starting line on his U.S. Army Suzuki. Hines lost to Ryan Schnitz in the semifinal. Hines fouled at the starting line while Schnitz rode his Team Muzzy Buell to a 7.132 at 182.90. Schnitz went on to beat Matt Guidera in the final round for his fourth career NHRA National victory.
"It was good to make up a little ground in the championship chase," Hines said. "We've been consistent on race day and have been to the semifinals every event, but we have a few things that we need to work out before we finish this three-race swing. We are making more horsepower, but we lost a little of our launch power and we need to figure that out again."
The two-bike team is staying in Joliet an extra day just to do some testing before resuming the second of three consecutive races. The team heads to Englishtown, N.J. for the K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park this weekend before the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals kicks off at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., just outside of St. Louis, on June 23-25.
Team owner Byron Hines said the team needs to figure out a few things before resuming the current set of races.
"Overall the weekend wasn't too bad, we just came up with the short end of the stick at the end of the day," Hines said. "We only had three rounds of qualifying and that fourth round could have changed the complexion of the race, at least for our team anyway.
We're going to test so we can answer a few questions. We need to get both bikes running well because this first set of three consecutive races can really affect the points chase. If one team gets up or down, it will have a serious impact on the point standings. We need to be ready for the next two events."
Because of poor weather conditions, the team had just three rounds of qualifying this weekend instead of the four they normally have to prepare for eliminations day. Andrew Hines qualified third with a 7.029 pass at 190.48 while Tonglet was 14th with a 7.115 at 187.68.
"We might have been able to shake up the qualifying order and avoid racing each other in the first round, but it's hard to say what would have happened for sure if we would have had another qualifying pass," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "Our riders have faced each other in the past three events and unfortunately it's been in the early rounds on race day. Testing might be exactly what we need to figure out a few things. Hopefully we can take the information and apply it to the next two events. We want to see both bikes going rounds on eliminations day."