Gainesville: Team Valvoline preview

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hines Opens as Favorite Matt Hines was selected in a pre-season media poll as the favorite to win the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. After earning NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in 1996, Hines rode his...

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hines Opens as Favorite

Matt Hines was selected in a pre-season media poll as the favorite to win the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. After earning NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in 1996, Hines rode his Eagle One Suzuki to the title three consecutive years, then was runner-up in 2000 and third last year. He is the defending bike class winner at Gainesville and also won at the Florida quarter-mile in 1998.

Hines has decided to race an updated version of last year's Eagle One Suzuki. He tested it recently in Houston and went 7.09 seconds, 194 mph, on just his fourth pass down the track.

Hines on Pro Stock Motorcycle season opener at Gainesville: "I was contemplating on whether or not to build a new bike. Considering the time frame, and the off-season is only a few months, and with all of the data we have on the current Eagle One Suzuki, we decided just to make some changes (updates) on the current bike. If you build a whole new bike, it's like starting from scratch. It could put you behind the eight-ball right from the get-go. We know we have a good bike. It just set the record of 7.09 (seconds, at Reading, Pa.) near the end of last season. Now, it's a matter of making it good for every pass. It's all about weight and getting the weight placement right. We cut some motor-mounts off and stuff like that. We basically played with the chassis, went over the whole bike, and I think we've got it figured out."

MATT HINES
Age: 29
Residence: Trinadad, Colo.
2001 Season: 2 wins (Gainesville, Englishtown)
Third in Pro Stock Motorcycle points
Career: Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion (1997-98-99). NHRA
Pro Stock Motorcycle record 28 wins.


Pro Stock: 2 Poles for Krisher

Ron Krisher earned his seventh career No. 1 qualifying position in the most recent Pro Stock event, at Firebird Raceway, but lost in the second round. Krisher's Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier has been the No. 1 qualifier at both races this year, at Pomona and Firebird.

Krisher owns his own drag racing engine development company, KRJ, located in Newark, Ohio. His company supplies engines to Pro Stock competitors Tom Hammonds and V. Gaines.

Krisher on the horsepower advantage he enjoys in the Eagle One Cavalier: "This is what we had in mind (with self-owned engine business). When we make a mistake with the car (chassis), the horsepower just makes up for it. Nobody makes perfect runs. We don't have to make perfect runs to be where we're at. If we made perfect runs, we'd probably be a hundredth (of a second) faster than we are now. We've got enough power to overwhelm everyone and everything on any given pass."

SEASON-TO-DATE:
Pomona (2/10) -- Qualified first. Lost in first round to George Marnell (eventual race winner).
Firebird (2/24) -- Qualified first. Lost in second round to Kurt Johnson.

RON KRISHER
Age: 54
Residence: Warren, Ohio
2001 Season: 1 win (Topeka)
Eighth in Pro Stock points
Career Wins: 3

Top Fuel: Russell Looks for Rebound

Darrell Russell was last season's NHRA Rookie of the Year. He qualified for both of this season's races, but has not advanced beyond the first round of eliminations.

Continuing one of the most successful partnerships in modern motor racing, Valvoline returns in 2002 for the 19th season as a sponsor of Joe Amato's Top Fuel team. From 1984 through his retirement after the 2000 campaign, Valvoline's technical, product and financial support helped Amato to five Top Fuel championships and 52 victories, both NHRA records. Darrell Russell added to the record in 2001, with two wins, and NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in Amato's dragster. Bilstein Engine Flush is Amato Racing's new primary sponsor.

SEASON-TO-DATE:
Pomona (2/10) -- Qualified 15th. Lost in first round to Larry Dixon (eventual race winner).
Firebird (2/24) -- Qualified 12th. Lost in first round to Doug Kalitta.

DARRELL RUSSELL
Age: 33
Residence: Hockley, Tex.
2001 Season: NHRA Rookie of the Year
2 wins (Pomona, Feb.; Las Vegas, Oct.)
Sixth in Top Fuel points

JOE AMATO
Age: 57
Residence: Moosic, Pa.
Career: NHRA Top Fuel record-holder with five championships and 52 wins. Retired following 2000 season.

NEXT EVENT: SummitRacing.com Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 4-7.

-tv-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Tom Hammonds , George Marnell