HINES RACES SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD TO THE TOP OF QUALIFYING AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Tonglet Back in the Top Half of the Field ST. LOUIS (June 23, 2006) -- When the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod team walked away from last weekend's...
HINES RACES SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-ROD TO THE TOP OF QUALIFYING AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Tonglet Back in the Top Half of the Field
ST. LOUIS (June 23, 2006) -- When the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod team walked away from last weekend's NHRA POWERade event in Englishtown, N.J., they weren't exactly swimming in positive thoughts. Riders Andrew Hines and GT Tonglet had each suffered through a first-round loss -- the first time both bikes exited in the opening round of eliminations this season -- and they were disappointed, to say the least.
The disappointment, however, quickly turned into determination. The team worked overtime to make some adjustments this week. The changes have paid off so far.
Hines rode to the top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle ladder Friday following the first two rounds of qualifying for the O'Reilly Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Hines turned in a track-record time of 7.085 seconds at 188.89 mph. Tonglet -- the winner of the 2001 event at this track -- is currently eighth after recording a 7.168 pass at 186.85.
"We made some changes during the week in hopes of turning this bike around and we obviously are going in the right direction," Hines said. "This Screamin' Eagle team is working together so well and we're just trying to push a little harder and keep this V-Rod at the front of the pack."
Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said last weekend helped create the added motivation for the trip to St. Louis.
"Two first round losses are just unacceptable for this group and they were looking forward to coming back out to the track and putting Englishtown in the past," Paluso said.
"They knew they were coming to a track that could potentially have high heat, high humidity and they came out and put on a great show in the first day. Setting the track record is exciting and we'll come back out here tomorrow and fight to keep the top spot."
The conditions were warm, but not at all like the 100-degree heat the racers dealt with at the 2005 event. Hines said the team is just as happy as the fans when it comes to the weather this year.
"The fans are so happy the weather is cooler than last year's 100-degree temperatures," Hines said. "It makes a big difference for us too. But we have two more days here so we just have to make adjustments for the conditions as we go. We can't use any of the data from last year because of the 20-degree weather difference so we have to be prepared for anything."
If Hines can keep No. 1 qualifying position, it will be the 19th of his career.
"The bike seems to be responding to the changes and all we can do is keep working on it," Hines said. "The V-Rod is starting to come around and the bike wants to run quick and we just have to keep fine tuning it."
Hines is currently second in the point standings, aiming to defend his two consecutive NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championships (2004-'05). Hines is just 12 points behind category leader Sampey, with nine events remaining in the season.