HINES DEFENDS LAS VEGAS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE VICTORY; MAINTAINS COUNTDOWN POINTS LEAD Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson Rider Andrew Hines Leads Category LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2007) -- Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Motorsports rider Andrew Hines ...
HINES DEFENDS LAS VEGAS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE VICTORY; MAINTAINS COUNTDOWN POINTS LEAD
Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson Rider Andrew Hines Leads Category
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2007) -- Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Motorsports rider Andrew Hines experienced a completely different feeling at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals on Sunday.
Hines was calm.
The three-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion didn't have the usual butterflies normally associated with a big race weekend. As if the 15th of 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events wasn't pressure-packed enough every other year, this season the stakes were much higher.
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the first of two final events in the Countdown to the Championship. Only four racers in each professional category have qualified to race for the 2007 crowns.
Hines walked into Las Vegas with a 10-point lead. He's leaving with a 39-point lead following his victory.
"It really was the strangest day I've ever had in racing," Hines said. "Everything was nice and smooth and there weren't any issues on the bike or with anything else. I give all the credit for this unusually calm and great day to my team. They did a great job preparing the V-Rod for competition and I was ready to go without the butterflies because of it.
"It was an excellent day. We won the race and extended our points lead and it is all pretty overwhelming. I can't wait to get to the season finale."
Hines beat Shawn Gann and the Race Girl/Lucas Oil Suzuki team in the first round. Hines recorded a 7.053-second pass at 188.49 mph to top Gann's 7.217 at 186.15. Hines earned a second round victory over Chris Rivas and the Torco Buell team with a 7.085 at 187.83 over Rivas' 7.157 at 182.62.
Hines earned his 22nd career final round appearance with his semifinal matchup win over Matt Smith and the Torco Race Fuels Buell. Hines won with a 7.086 pass at 186.92, beating Smith's 7.096 at 186.43.
With a final round victory over Chip Ellis, Hines earned his 13th career victory. Hines rode to the quarter-mile victory with a 7.073 run at 187.34 to beat Ellis' 7.144 at 185.41 on his Buell.
"With one race left we have a 39-point lead and that's a great position to be in," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "The team has worked extremely hard to overcome some challenges this season and put us in a position to compete for the championship. The work paid off this weekend. It was a great race and we're proud of the way everyone performed under the pressure of battling for a record number of championships."
The victory was the second consecutive for Hines at Las Vegas. With one race remaining (the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 1-4) Hines is aiming for history.
Hines is tied with two other racers, older brother and current crew chief Matt Hines and Angelle Sampey, as the only riders in NHRA history to win three consecutive titles. If Hines can win the championship this year, he will be the first rider in NHRA history to win four consecutive crowns.
"It's nice knowing we have a little bit of a cushion in the point standings going into Pomona, but that won't change our goals of trying to win rounds and win the race," Hines said. "Almost any other time of year it's nice to have a week or two off after you win a race so you can savor the victory. But I'm very happy we race before the week is out. The team is focused and I'm excited about this Countdown to the Championship."
Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Motorsports teammate Eddie Krawiec qualified in the No. 5 position before losing to Geno Scali and the Performance Machine Suzuki team in the first round.