HINES EARNS THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN AT MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK; FOURTH VICTORY OF THE SEASON NHRA Racers Prepare for Final Cut in the Countdown MEMPHIS (Sept. 17, 2007) -- Andrew Hines won his third consecutive race at Memphis Motorsports Park ...
HINES EARNS THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN AT MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK; FOURTH VICTORY OF THE SEASON
NHRA Racers Prepare for Final Cut in the Countdown
MEMPHIS (Sept. 17, 2007) -- Andrew Hines won his third consecutive race at Memphis Motorsports Park Sunday, earning his fourth win of the season and his 12th win overall.
When Hines won the Pro Stock Motorcycle title at the O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals in 2006, it was the first time he had earned a second win at the same facility. He thought that was cool -- until he won his third race there, of course.
"I have no idea why we have had such great success in Memphis," Hines said. "I think maybe it's the heat. It's so hot that I can't think about anything else. It forces me to focus. Whatever it is, it works for me.
"Winning at Memphis three times is just an amazing feeling. When we were rolling up to the staging lanes before the final I actually thought about how great it would be to win for the third time there."
Hines is the three-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. Sunday's victory moved him from fourth place to first place with just three races left in the season. Hines beat Mike Berry and the MB Precision Machining Suzuki team in the first round before beating his Screamin' Eagle teammate Eddie Krawiec in the second round.
Hines topped Peggy Llewellyn and the Rush racing Parts Buell team in the semifinals before beating Steve Johnson and the Snap-on Tools team in the final.
"It was a huge win for the team," Hines said. "To be able to move from fourth to first at this time of year is a big deal. Before this race I knew that if we didn't perform well, we could easily get bumped out of the top four. Now I think we have a little breathing room gong into the next event.
"We luckily got the win at the perfect time."
Being in the top four makes all the difference this season. This is the first year of the new Countdown to the Championship points system implemented by NHRA officials. The playoff system breaks the season into three sections. All racers competed to earn the top eight spots (Round Two of the Countdown) before the Sept. 3 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
Now those eight racers are competing for the top four positions in the point standings. The O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Dallas is the last event in which to qualify for the third and final round of the Countdown.
The third round of the Countdown will feature the top four riders and they will have two events (Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.) to win the 2007 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.
"It was a great weekend for Andrew and the Screamin' Eagle program," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "For him to win the same event for the third consecutive year is an outstanding accomplishment. It's a nice feeling knowing he's leading the points going into the final race before the next Countdown cut."
Krawiec, Hines' teammate on the drag racing team, beat Antron Brown and the U.S. Army Suzuki team in the first round before the two Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rods matched up in the second round.
Krawiec lost to Hines for the third time in the last four races. The teammates have faced each other five times this season with Hines holding the 3-2 advantage.
"We got past the first round which was great but then we faced Andrew again," Krawiec said. "On the one hand, it's nice for the team knowing that at least one V-Rod is moving on to the next round. But it's a bummer that we had to face each other so early in the elimination rounds because no matter what, one of was going to lose early in the day."
With one race before the next cut in the Countdown system, Hines said he can breathe a little easier for the next few days.
"Our team just made some great tuning calls throughout the weekend," he said. "The bike went down the track nice and straight and we just kept making baby steps toward improvements. That paid off on Sunday, which is a great thing because I had never won four races in one season before and that was a big goal of mine. It can also relieve a little of my stress about getting into the next round of the Countdown."