Hines wins Bike Battle, new records set in Indy

Andrew Hines took home the first big paycheck from Indianapolis after winning the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle in front of packed stands at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The Battle, a Pro Stock Motorcycle bonus event, was held among ...

Andrew Hines took home the first big paycheck from Indianapolis after winning the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle in front of packed stands at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The Battle, a Pro Stock Motorcycle bonus event, was held among Saturday's two rounds of qualifications for the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. With the final two rounds of qualifications remaining on Sunday, Matt Smith, Greg Anderson, John Force and Tony Schumacher hold the top positions in the PowerAde Pro divisions.

Riders began earning points for the 2006 Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle at the 2005 U.S. Nationals. The eight riders accumulating the most qualifying points during the 15-race Pro Bike Series earned a berth in the Pro Bike Battle. The 2006 participants were Hines, Chip Ellis, Craig Treble, Antron Brown, Angelle Sampey, Tom Bradford, Matt Smith and Ryan Schnitz.

Hines took out Bradford and Smith to reach the finals where he faced Ellis, who beat Treble and Brown. With the flash of a green light, Hines beat Ellis off the line and never looked back, piloting his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle down the quarter mile in 7.062 seconds.

"My lights were consistent all day. That's one thing I've been working on, just being a more consistent driver," Hines said. A second generation racer, (father Byron and older brother Matt both raced motorcycles) Hines acknowledged, "It's an honor to carry on the legacy of the Hines name.

"My team gave me an awesome bike to ride. They're something else. They know how to work in a crunch. (The Vance & Hines team) has won this battle the last three years. They know how to excel. I'm going to take this money and split it between the team because they are the ones that deserve it."

Hines received an over sized check worth $25,000 for the victory and will have a chance to earn a $10,000 bonus if he can win Monday's U.S. Nationals Finals.

After one pass Friday night, qualification rounds two and three for what is widely considered the super bowl of drag racing continued Saturday. Pleasant temps in the mid 70's created ideal track conditions and the opportunity for several new Indianapolis track records.

Funny Car legend John Force heads the quickest field in Funny Car history. The 16th spot on the ladder, the final spot to qualify for Monday's Finals, sits at 4.801 seconds, the quickest in history for the bump.

Force sat on the bump spot going into his Saturday night run. "I was nauseous. No matter how many championships you win you sweat every time. (Austin) Coil was over there talking to God and he never does that. No matter what anybody says, it's a gut ache," Force shared.

But their fears were erased in 4.691 seconds after Force piloted his machine to a new track record low E.T. "She had a rattle from the start line to the end, but we made it. I stole all I could steal on the light. It's a good ole racetrack and we bumped her in."

Force also shared his feelings about being booed by fans Friday night, apparently over a confusing paint scheme misinterpreted by some as a tribute to the Dallas Cowboys. "We're good, we didn't get booed tonight. Before I've always claimed it was Bazemore's relatives," Force joked. "They boo you once and you're out there hugging and kissing everybody. You don't want to lose 'em." Force then stated as he had earlier over the PA, "I'm a Colt's fan."

Gary Scelzi put his name in the books speeding his Funny Car down the quarter mile at 330.31 mph, also a new track record. Despite the top speed, Scelzi sits 7th on the ladder. 2005 Nationals Champion Del Worsham has his work cut out for him as he is not yet in the field of sixteen.

Matt Smith sits atop the Pro Stock Bike division after his Saturday afternoon run of 6.994 seconds, a new track record. With the sub-seven run, Smith also became the fifth member of the Six-Second Club earning a $500 bonus from Mickey Thompson Tires.

"The run was perfect," Smith shared. "It was a beautiful pass. They had the bike tuned up right and we hit all our shift points. I don't know if anybody else can top that. But just being a part of the history books is special."

Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher broke the track speed record Saturday night blasting down the track to reach a top speed of 332.54 mph. The Sarge also set the Top Fuel Low E.T. with the pass, taking a mere 4.475 seconds to go the quarter mile.

"This is the big one, a great race track and we would like to win. That was a great run, still better than everyone else. But we still have a lot of racing to go. We've just got to stay focused," Schumacher said.

Greg Anderson leads the Pro Stock division with a low E.T. 6.681 seconds. Notable Pro Stock drivers sitting on the outside looking in include Richie Stevens, Warren Johnson and Erica Enders.

Sunday's schedule will feature the Skoal Showdown, the Funny Car bonus event that awards the winner a check for $100,000. Drivers will also have two more rounds of qualifications to attempt to improve their times and make Monday's show.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Warren Johnson , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , Chip Ellis , Tom Bradford , Angelle Sampey