Matt Hines to sit out 2003 racing season

TRINIDAD, Colo. (Jan. 22, 2003) - Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion Matt Hines announced today that he will not race during the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season. "I've been racing for seven years now and our program has been ...

TRINIDAD, Colo. (Jan. 22, 2003) - Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion Matt Hines announced today that he will not race during the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season.

"I've been racing for seven years now and our program has been very successful," Hines said. "We've grown to the point where we can't run our operation at the high level we have come to expect without major sponsorship. The contract with our former sponsor ended prematurely and we have not been able to secure a sponsor that we feel comfortable with yet."

Hines became the youngest champion in NHRA history when he won his first Pro Stock Bike title in 1997 at age 25. Hines was the first rider in Pro Stock Bike history to earn three consecutive championships in 1999. He has finished in the top three of the standings each year of competition.

While he may not be racing down the dragstrip, he will remain heavily involved with the sport. Hines will serve as the technical consultant to the Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson program throughout the season.

Vance & Hines Motorsports combined efforts with Harley-Davidson last season to produce the first Harley-backed Pro Stock Bike in NHRA competition. The team failed to qualify for eliminations in seven attempts - something the Vance & Hines team is determined to change. "We are experiencing a lot of momentum with the Harley program right now and it would be very difficult to stop the progress we've made and split our attention between the two teams," Hines said. "It's a big challenge for us and I think it will help me in the long run. This is going to help me look at tuning the bike in a different aspect."

Hines has collected 30 national event victories in 47 final round appearances. He is second only to John Force in consecutive races without a DNQ (96). His .781 winning percentage leads all pro categories. "At this point I really want to focus on the Harley program and when the time is right, I will go back to racing. This is definitely not the end of my racing career."

The support vehicle for all Vance & Hines engine customers will continue to travel to each NHRA national event, led by Joe VanderBrink.

-v&hm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , John Force