SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD NHRA DRAG RACING TEAM HAS TWO RACES TO REGAIN THE POINTS LEAD Hines And Tonglet Come Up Short In Bid For Reading Win READING, Pa., (Oct. 1, 2006) -- Luckily for the Screamin' Eagle/ Vance & Hines V-Rod Harley-Davidson team...
SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD NHRA DRAG RACING TEAM HAS TWO RACES TO REGAIN THE
Hines And Tonglet Come Up Short In Bid For Reading Win
READING, Pa., (Oct. 1, 2006) -- Luckily for the Screamin' Eagle/ Vance & Hines V-Rod Harley-Davidson team they didn't spot a 'fat lady' singing in their pit area Sunday during the 22nd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Both of the Screamin' Eagle riders lost in the early rounds of eliminations but this championship season is far from over. As the season comes to a close with just two events remaining on the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle schedule, the team knows there is still time to make a bid for its third consecutive championship title.
Two-time defending series champion Andrew Hines lost in the first round to teammate GT Tonglet Sunday. Hines turned in a quicker-but-losing 6.999-second pass at 191.67 mph to Tonglet's winning 7.070 at 188.10. The difference was on the starting line. Tonglet's reaction time was a .027 compared to Hines' .131.
Antron Brown and the U.S. Army Suzuki team had second place in the standings prior to the event. Brown won two rounds, losing to Geno Scali and the Performance Machine Suzuki team in the semifinals. The two round wins, however, allowed Brown to pass Hines in the standings. With two events left Brown has a 27-point lead over Hines.
It was the first time in four meetings this season that Tonglet has beat Hines.
"I was relaxed on the V-Rod because it ran so well in qualifying," Hines said. "I thought we could go out there, make a good pass and get the win light. I just missed a little bit. It's coming down to crunch time now and luckily we have a really strong bike and we've been keeping it near the top of the pack in qualifying."
Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said winning rounds became ultra critical the instant Hines lost the opening match.
"We're now at a very critical part of the season and it's absolutely necessary for us to win rounds in Las Vegas," Paluso said. "The championship is on the line and we have to put ourselves in a position to win the title. No one else can do it for us."
Tonglet lost to Scali in the second round. Tonglet rode his V-Rod to a 7.140 pass at 188.02, falling to Scali's 7.121 at 188.91.
"We've been working on our 60-foot times for a while and we had some great numbers there all weekend," Tonglet said. "We've been making good progress and I'm excited about going to Vegas and seeing if we can't win a couple of more rounds there."
Now Hines must focus on what the team needs to do to get the points lead back within the remaining two events of the season.
"I truly believe that our team has the bike to beat," Hines said. "It is one of the most consistent as far as laying down the best ET's and that is going to be so important in the last two races of the season. If I can figure out my end of things we should be able to keep up with the championship chase. The bike has been running so well. I just need to work on my consistency as a rider."
Hines qualified in the No. 2 position with a career-best 6.950 pass at 192.28. It was the ninth time this season Hines qualified in the top three. Tonglet qualified in the No. 15 position with a 7.049 at 189.07.
Karen Stoffer won the event, her first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of the season. All of the action from Maple Grove Raceway can be seen tonight on ESPN2, starting at 7 p.m. (ET).
The next NHRA event featuring the Pro Stock Motorcycle class is the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Oct. 26-29.