SCREAMIN' EAGLE TEAM LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TOUGH CONDITIONS AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Hines and Tonglet Wrap Up Final Event of Three-Race Swing ST. LOUIS (June 20, 2006) -- When the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series pulls up to ...
SCREAMIN' EAGLE TEAM LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TOUGH CONDITIONS AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Hines and Tonglet Wrap Up Final Event of Three-Race Swing
ST. LOUIS (June 20, 2006) -- When the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series pulls up to Gateway International Raceway for this weekend's O'Reilly Midwest NHRA Nationals, there might not be many happy faces. After all, less humid, cool conditions usually make for better racing. With temperatures expected to soar into the upper 80s and 90s, there is likely just going to be one happy team on the property: The Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod team.
Crew chief Matt Hines said riders Andrew Hines and GT Tonglet could benefit from the lack of good air. Up until the start of the 2005 season, the Vance & Hines team was stationed in Trinidad, Colo., and became used to dealing with less oxygen in the air.
"Gateway is a good track for us and we've done well there in the past," Hines said. "I think it is actually one of the tracks that better suits our setup and style. It fits us because the air is in the middle. It's not killer air where we might have trouble spinning the tire because of too much power. But it's not as weak as the air we had in Colorado. We just have to get there and find the right tuneup quickly."
The team earned a pair of semifinal finishes at the event in 2005. Hines qualified in the top spot before losing to Angelle Sampey in the semifinal. Tonglet qualified sixth before losing to Antron Brown in the semis.
Tonglet -- winner of the 2001 event in St. Louis as a teenager -- said the team is looking for positive results, especially since both riders are coming off first round losses in Englishtown (N.J., last weekend).
"It would be a good boost for us as a team to have some good results this weekend," Tonglet said. "We struggled in New Jersey and we have worked too hard to let that affect us for too long. We're going to St. Louis knowing that we can turn it all around with two great passes in qualifying."
Hines is currently second in the point standings, aiming to defend his two consecutive NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championships (2004-'05). Hines is just 12 points behind category leader Sampey, with nine events remaining in the season.
"Winning rounds is crucial at this point," the 23-year-old Hines said. "We need to qualify well and keep earning our bonus points to get into the Pro Bike Battle (special event at the U.S. Nationals) in Indianapolis in September. Every point in qualifying and in the eliminations is ultra important."
Riders will have four chances to qualify for the sixth of 15 national NHRA events, starting with sessions at 5 and 8 p.m. Friday before wrapping up on Saturday (2 and 7 p.m.). Final eliminations will start at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The team will then have more than two weeks off before the Western Swing begins in Denver at Bandimere Speedway on July 14-16.
"We're working better as a team this year on everything from engine development to chassis work and overall bike maintenance," Matt Hines said. "We're putting out more of a team effort and now we just need to turn that into round wins."