Hines Clinches 2004 NHRA POWERade World Championship in Pro Stock Bike POMONA, Calif. -- Andrew Hines, 21, became the youngest NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion in history Saturday by qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals, the...
Hines Clinches 2004 NHRA POWERade World Championship in Pro Stock Bike
POMONA, Calif. -- Andrew Hines, 21, became the youngest NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion in history Saturday by qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals, the 2004 season finale.
To earn his first series crown, Hines, from Indianapolis, rode his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a time of 7.184 at 185.23, good enough for the 12th qualifying position in the 16-bike eliminations lineup. After experiencing several malfunctions during the first three qualifying rounds, including a broken chain that damaged his bike, Hines came back on the final attempt and posted his quickest run of the weekend and secured the title.
"The first thought I have is what an outstanding accomplishment for my dad (Byron) this championship is," Hines said. "He's been in this sport for a long time and he's won a bunch of championships but to take this program with Harley-Davidson and build it up to a championship level this fast is really something.
For winning the championship, Hines earns a $50,000 bonus from NHRA and POWERade. Hines joins Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) as NHRA POWERade world champions for '04.
"I'm so happy that I'm the guy on the seat," he said. "I have an outstanding team around me. From my dad and my brother Matt, to Joe Vanderbrink, Greg Cope, Meredith Schultz, and Ray Veirs, I'd take this group over anyone. There isn't a better team in all of motorsports in my opinion. I'm really just another name on the Vance & Hines roster of champions."
This is the fourth NHRA Pro Stock Bike world championship for the Hines family, as Andrew's older brother Matt won three championships from 1997-'99. Matt was previously the sport's youngest champion, as he was 25 when he claimed his first title in '97.
"It's neat to be the youngest POWERade champion ever," Andrew said. "I certainly never thought I'd have this much success this early in my career. This is just my third year out here and my second full season of competition. Again, I have to point to the team. I probably won't give Matt too much grief over replacing him as the youngest champion in NHRA history because I wouldn't have won it if he wasn't tuning this bike."
The younger Hines won three national event titles in four final rounds and earned eight No. 1 qualifying awards to outdistance primary challengers Antron Brown and Angelle Savoie for the title.
"They say the first championship is the easiest one to win," he said. "Now we need to back it up and prove this one was no fluke. I don't ever think it's been easy and I don't think the NHRA will ever allow us to dominate like we did earlier this year. But we're still going to work like crazy this offseason and try to make the gains we need to make to back it up in 2005."
It is also the first NHRA Pro Stock Bike championship title for Harley-Davidson.
"Harley is extremely happy with what we've done," Hines said. "I know they're already excited about next year and the year after that. Maybe we've started a new era of dominance by Harley-Davidson motorcycles. That would be awesome."