HINES RIDES SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD INTO FINAL ROUND AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY Defending Series Champ Closes the Gap on the Points Lead COMMERCE, Ga. (May 8, 2006) -- For the second consecutive race Andrew Hines rode his Harley-Davidson Screamin' ...
HINES RIDES SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD INTO FINAL ROUND AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY
Defending Series Champ Closes the Gap on the Points Lead
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 8, 2006) -- For the second consecutive race Andrew Hines rode his Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod into the final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle competition. The 22-year-old defending NHRA series champion also moved closer to the top of the point standings with his performance during Sunday's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Hines earned his 12th career runner-up finish, losing to Antron Brown's Suzuki in the final round matchup. Hines turned in a 7.089-second pass at 187.94 mph in a holeshot loss to Brown's 7.098 at 187.44. Brown posted a near perfect reaction time of .005 to Hines' .038. The margin of victory was .0242 seconds.
The win aided Brown's jump from third to first place in the point standings while Hines fell from second to third place. He did, however, make a dramatic cut into the points lead. Hines was 63 points out of first place before the weekend. Now he's just one point behind second place Angelle Sampey and seven points away from Brown and the top spot.
"Overall it was a good weekend and we're happy with the runner-up finish," Hines said. "Getting points now will help us have a chance of being in the championship hunt late in the year. We're hanging with the top teams in the class right now and we're making some good moves with these V-Rods."
Hines beat teammate GT Tonglet in the opening round of competition. Hines posted a 7.105 at 188.62, topping Tonglet's 7.205 at 186.48. In Round Two action Hines rode his V-Rod to a winning time of 7.077 at 189.50, beating the Buell of Tom Bradford with a 7.160 at 182.40. Hines earned a trip to the final round with a win over Michael Phillips' Suzuki in the semifinals, going 7.057 at 188.88 over Phillips' 7.172 at 187.63.
It was the first time this season that the two teammates faced each other. In 2005 the teammates faced off four times including two final rounds. Hines had the edge, 3-1.
"One of the few disadvantages of having a two-bike team is knowing that every once in a while, you have to face your teammate," Tonglet said. "It's even worse when it's the first round. The good thing is that we have some good data from the weekend that we can put to use in the next few races. I think we're getting closer to being more consistent and that's going to be really important as we head into the heart of the season."
Hines qualified in the No. 3 spot with a 7.084 pass at 187.16. Tonglet was 14th with a 7.155 at 187.47.
"The team tested a lot before this race and I think what we learned in testing paid off with a few round wins this weekend," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "Andrew gained a lot of points and even though GT is in ninth place, the standings are so packed that he's just 30 points out of fourth place."
Now the team is set on making even more changes in hopes of getting back to the final round, but going one step further.
"The bikes are really coming around and we are getting a better handle on the setups," crew chief Matt Hines said. "We're making some changes and the bikes responded to those changes this weekend. Now we need to get back to the shop, make some more horsepower and head to the next race and keep improving the performances numbers."
The next NHRA POWERade event is the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, May 18-21.