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HINES LOOKING FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN AT BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY MORRISON, Colo. - Please excuse Matt Hines if he's feeling a Rocky Mountain High when the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series makes its annual stop at Bandimere Speedway, July 15-18,...

HINES LOOKING FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN AT BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY MORRISON, Colo. - Please excuse Matt Hines if he's feeling a Rocky Mountain High when the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series makes its annual stop at Bandimere Speedway, July 15-18, for the 21st Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals. There's a reason for his good spirits. Hines, from nearby Trinidad, Colo., has dominated at the quarter-mile track over the last three seasons, posting victories over Angelle Seeling and Dave Schultz during those years. He also holds both ends of the track performance record for bikes (7.806 seconds, 175.06 mph), making him an early race favorite for a fourth consecutive victory. The $1.6 million race is the 12th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. The secret to his success is simple: local knowledge is a good thing. "The last couple of seasons we had an opportunity to do some testing at nearby Pueblo Motorsports Park before Denver which features similar altitude," Hines said. "It gave us a good idea of what we needed to do to be successful at Bandimere. This year we're not going to be able to test at Pueblo because the Winston Showdown at Bristol is the week before Denver, so we're going to need to be straight when we get there." Getting it straight has been the Eagle One Suzuki team's quest this season. After two seasons of domination, Hines decided to switch to a new bike for the 1999 season. Since then he and father and crew chief Byron have been working out the bugs. Last year entering the event in Devner, Hines was riding the crest of a wave of three straight victories. This season, he's 1 for 3 in final rounds, posting his only win of the season in Chicago. The entire situation is a catch-22 for Hines. Sitting second in Winston points, 141 behind leader Seeling, Hines isn't exactly having a terrible season. But by Hines' past standards, it's not exactly the type of season he and his teammates have grown accustomed to. He feels certain that once his team fine-tunes his new Suzuki, they'll be better than ever. "The bike is performing better at every event," Hines said. "We just want to do the best we can at each of the events we have remaining. That's the goal at this point. We've made some mistakes this season, but the key to winning the Winston championship is to not make any more. We've got to make the right calls and then I have to do my job on the bike. I just want to ride good from here on out." Riding good at Denver calls for a little different technique on the bike and in the setup process. "You definitely use an entirely different tune-up on the bike for Denver," Hines said. "It's a totally new curve. You have to throw a little more gear at it, take out some clutch and do a lot of little things to the bike to make it competitive for the high-altitude that you're going to experience in Denver." A transplanted Californian, Hines, 27, once called Pomona Raceway home. Now a Colorado resident, he's becoming more comfortable with calling Bandimere Speedway his home track. "Our shop is only about three hours away from the track, so we have a lot of friends that will come out to watch us," Hines said. "One advantage that we have is that our shop sits in even higher altitude than the track and we've got our engines to make power there. We feel pretty comfortable in our ability to make enough power to be competitive at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines