MOHNTON, Pa.- Matt Hines has already captured three NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike championships. He even did it in back-to-back fashion, winning three titles between 1997-'99. During his championship reign, Hines put his name in the record book...
MOHNTON, Pa.- Matt Hines has already captured three NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike championships. He even did it in back-to-back fashion, winning three titles between 1997-'99.
During his championship reign, Hines put his name in the record book in several places. Since Pro Stock Bike was turned into a pro class in 1987, Hines has been responsible for setting the national record 12 times. Going into the 2002 season, Hines led all NHRA competitors in all four pro categories with a .795 winning percentage, going 209-54 in just six years of racing. Hines is the third winningest PSB rider in history with 29 wins and he is tied with late Pro Stock racer Lee Shepherd in the No. 23 spot for wins in all categories.
In 93 career events, the rider of the Vance & Hines Eagle One Suzuki has never missed elimination day. He now has the third longest streak without a DNQ in NHRA history, behind John Force and John Smith, a fellow Pro Stock Bike competitor.
Last year he made history again. He was the first rider to break into the 7.0-second range. He went 7.092 in the first round of eliminations at Maple Grove Raceway - the same track where the NHRA is headed to for the 18th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Sept. 12-15. Gary Scelzi, John Force, Troy Coughlin and Angelle Savoie are the defending winners of the $1.9 million race is the 18th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Hines has accomplished quite a bit in his career, but the 30-year old is aiming for something else. He wants to be the first to break the six-second range. He does, however, have good competition in that quest.
"We want to be the first to get into the Mickey Thompson 6-second club. We want the record and the bonus money," Hines, from Trinidad, Colo., said. "That is what we are focused on right now, trying to find the horsepower to make it happen. Unfortunately, I think everyone else is trying to do the same thing too."
If there is one thing most of the category competitors agree on, Maple Grove is the place to set the record. The track's location provided good air for racing and the timing of the event provides cool conditions.
"If anyone is going to break the six-second barrier this year, it is only going to happen at Reading," Hines said. "Otherwise, the next best shot might be at Gainesville next season. We want to get the record, but we really want to get it in Reading. Some of the best Pro Stock Bike fans in the nation come to that event and they really support the class. If there is one event where all of the bike haulers are constantly surrounded by fans, it's Reading."
Craig Treble agrees that Reading should be the place to see the scoreboard light up with the six-second elapsed time - especially considering what happened last year. The race, scheduled for Sept. 14-16 last season, was postponed because of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"There are a lot of teams trying just as hard to break that record as they are trying to win races," Treble, who was born on Sept. 11, 1966, said. "But Reading is probably going to be the last chance for a while. That track provides us with everything, cool weather, good air, and great fan support. Plus, it also has a special meaning for everyone involved.
"Last year the race was pushed back into October, and it was the first time we all got to see each other after everything that happened in New York and Washington. It was very good to be surrounded by our friends, family and the fans. All of the riders in the category donated all of our qualifying money to the Red Cross just to help out. We won't ever forget that race."
Hines may have a hauler full of trophies, records and accolades, but he has his eye on at least one more prize. "We are pretty focused on this one," Hines said. "We want to be the quickest and fastest on the track, and in the engine shop. We want to break that six-second zone first."