Hines, Sampey Excited To Begin 2007 Season At ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle category kicks off the 2007 season at the 38th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals and no one is more excited than...
Hines, Sampey Excited To Begin 2007 Season At ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle category kicks off the 2007 season at the 38th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals and no one is more excited than defending NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion Andrew Hines.
Hines, who held off U.S. Army Suzuki teammates Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown to earn his third consecutive world championship title last year, feels that the new Countdown to the Championship will bring added excitement to not only the fans, but teams as well.
"It's going to definitely be a different year because people are going to be experimenting all the way up to (Indianapolis)," said Hines. "It's going to be interesting when we get down to Indy and the changes come. You might see some huge improvements in Indy. Maybe even some new bikes will show up. It will definitely bring some excitement to the sport."
Hines is no stranger to success in Gainesville. The rider of the Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson was the winner of the 2004 event. He also became the first rider to break the six-second barrier with his phenomenal 6.991-second pass at Gainesville Raceway in 2005.
"It's where my first career win came," Hines said. "I'm just really excited to add a 2007 win to all the success I've had in Gainesville as well."
Hines and his team feel that the changes they've made in the off-season to prepare for Gainesville will not only bring success, but also an added confidence that will strengthen the team.
"We bought a new transporter this year," he said. "The one we've been using is19 years old. We've got all kinds of changes we've made for this season and hopefully they'll pay off for us."
Another driver excited for the start of the season is defending event winner Angelle Sampey, rider of the U.S. Army Suzuki. Sampey, who finished third last year in the POWERade Series championship points and has three Gatornationals victories, feels that with the addition of the Countdown to the Championship the racing will be a lot tighter with less room for mistakes.
"I think (the championship) is going to be up in the air," said Sampey. "Mistakes happen so easily in drag racing. It's going to give some people that may not have done well in the beginning of the season a chance for the championship. I'm hoping that the true champion at the end of the year will win it, but that's drag racing."
Sampey feels one advantage she'll have going into Gainesville will be the time that her team is spending in Georgia right before the race testing their new bikes for the upcoming season.
"We've only tested once so far (at the end of last season) and it was a really good test. There were just a few things we had to change," said Sampey. "(South Georgia Motorsports Park) can give us that. It's close to Gainesville so we'll get the same type of weather."
Sampey is excited to get her motorcycle down the track at Gainesville, but feels weather will be a key factor in determining the race.
"You never know what to expect in Gainesville with the weather," said Sampey. "I'm hoping for some warm weather, but not too hot. We usually go really fast if it's not really hot there.
"I'm ready for the season. I'm all recharged and ready to go and I just can't wait for Gainesville."
* SCHEDULE: Professional qualifying sessions are scheduled for Noon and 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. Pre-race ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 18, followed by the first round of professional eliminations at 11 a.m.
* TICKETS: For tickets, call NHRA at (800) 884-6472. Tickets also are available at www.nhra.com.
* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights on Sunday, March 18 at 1:30 a.m. (ET). ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will telecast NHRA Race Day at 11 a.m. (ET) and televise two hours of eliminations at 5 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, March 18.