Las Vegas II: Vance & Hines preview

HINES DETERMINED TO RIDE HIS SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD OUT OF SECOND PLACE IN LAS VEGAS Teammates Hines and Tonglet Aiming to Improve on 2005 Performances MILWAUKEE (Oct. 23, 2006) -- You may as well call the Screamin' Eagle/ Vance & Hines V-Rod ...

HINES DETERMINED TO RIDE HIS SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD OUT OF SECOND PLACE IN LAS VEGAS
Teammates Hines and Tonglet Aiming to Improve on 2005 Performances

MILWAUKEE (Oct. 23, 2006) -- You may as well call the Screamin' Eagle/ Vance & Hines V-Rod Harley-Davidson team a pack of elephants. They don't forget anything.

So if you ask any of the team members what goals they might have going into the final two races of the season, the answer is going to be the same: Right the wrongs from 2005.

Last year rider Andrew Hines posted a first round and runner-up finish. Teammate GT Tonglet lost in the first round at both of the season's final two events. They finished first and second in the standings, respectively, but the team is in a different position this year and race results matter heavily.

Going into this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Hines is in second place, just 27 points away from category leader Antron Brown and the U.S. Army Suzuki team. Tonglet is in 13th place.

"We have to win rounds, no matter how you look at it," Hines said. "I'm looking to move up to first and GT wants to move back into the top 10. To do that we need to produce a better outcome than we did this time last year. Some round wins and maybe even a race win or two would be great for our team."

Tonglet is just 47 points out of the No. 10 spot in the standings. If he can move up during the last two events of the 15-race NHRA POWERade season, it will be his fifth top 10 finish of his six-year career.

"Unfortunately I'm not in championship contention, but I still want to finish the season on a high note," Tonglet said. "This team has worked so hard over the season and it would be great if we could jump back into the top 10 and end the season well."

Hines is the defending two-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. He has two wins in four final rounds this season along with one No. 1 qualifying award.

"It's been a real dogfight the last couple of seasons but luckily this Screamin' Eagle team has been able to earn the top spot and take the championship the last two years," Hines said. "I feel really lucky just to be in a position to compete for a possible third title. It would be an amazing achievement for the team. But in order to compete for the title, we need to go out there and turn some heads in the last two races and that starts in Las Vegas this weekend."

Crew chief and older brother, Matt Hines, said the team has done everything they can in order to be prepared for both events. The team, refusing to forget 2005, has a game plan already in place.

"We have made sure that everything is in top notch condition," Hines said. "Everything is fresh and we have good, reliable parts on the bike. The bike has been performing really well lately so we just need to make sure we carry that performance over to Las Vegas and Pomona (Calif., the season finale).

"If we can run in the 7.00s in Las Vegas that would be awesome. We need to build up our confidence in qualifying, stay focused, stay relaxed and do the job we have to do to compete for the race win. If we win rounds, the points will work themselves out."

Andrew Hines -- a 23-year-old Indianapolis resident -- is already building his race day confidence courtesy of the team's work back in the shop between races.

"We put some new parts on the bike and have made some small changes that could really help us," Hines said. "My dad (team owner Byron Hines) and brother have been working really hard to find a half a horsepower here, a half a horsepower there. They've looked for anything that will give us that edge.

"I've been doing everything I can to prepare too. I've been going through the motions of a run, honing my reaction time skills and doing anything to help me be consistent on race day. Both of our bikes caught a first round gremlin in Las Vegas last year and hopefully all of the season's work will pay off with better results this weekend."

-credit: v&h

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Andrew Hines , GT Tonglet