The first big payout of the 55th Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals went to Andrew Hines, winner of The 19th Annual Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana. The Pro Stock Motorcycle bonus event headlined a full...
The first big payout of the 55th Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals went to Andrew Hines, winner of The 19th Annual Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana. The Pro Stock Motorcycle bonus event headlined a full Saturday schedule that also included two qualification attempts by NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series teams.
The eight quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers from the last 24 races earned the opportunity to compete for the $25,000 special contest. Riders in the 2009 event included Hector Arana, Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec, Matt Smith, Karen Stoffer, Craig Treble, Steve Johnson and Matt Guidera.
Harley-Davidson has dominated the battle of late winning the last five years, with Hines winning three of those. The Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle team was on a mission to make it six in a row and Hines put his Harley in victory lane after defeating Hector Arana in the finals.
Arana had some quick runs this weekend building anticipation for a close final match with Hines, but the race ended before it started when Arana left early and lit up the red light on the christmas tree. Hines still recorded an impressive winning pass of 6.970 seconds at 192.58 MPH.
"This is something we really strive for," Hines shared. "For us to win it six years in a row is a tribute to how strong this team is. My brother Matt did a great job all day and I did my job today getting the green lights. Today was all about momentum, we were in the 6's every pass. To be celebrating in Indy again is really special."
Hines joins his brother and crew chief Matt and John Myers as a four time winners of the Bike Battle. "It is elite company," Hines said. "I looked up to Matt and John growing up and to be a part of this special club means a lot.
"This is an awesome facility" he added. Hines lives less than two miles from O'Reilly Raceway Park. "Indy has some of the best fans in the world and to ride down the return lane and have the fans cheering you because they know you're from this area really means a lot."
Hines and his team will celebrate The Bike Battle streak tonight, but it's back to business tomorrow with two remaining qualification attempts on the schedule. The NHRA will pony up a $10,000 sweep bonus if Hines can also win the U.S. Nationals Wally on Monday.
"I'm confident in my reaction times now, tomorrow I'll make sure I'm consistent and I know I'll have a good race bike for Monday," Hines said. "The only thing better than this is to win the Wally on Monday."
Arana and Hines tentatively hold the top two spots on the Pro Stock Motorcycle ladder with the final two qualification rounds remaining on Sunday. Also sitting on provisional poles are Larry Dixon [Top Fuel], Robert Hight [Funny Car] and Mike Edwards [Pro Stock].
NHRA officials announced Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Matt Guidera has been disqualified from the event and suspended for one year after Guidera failed to comply with the NHRA's drug testing policy. Guidera will retain his points in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship and is entitled to an appeal.
Qualifying for the U.S. Nationals continues Sunday at 11:30 am (EDT).