Memphis: Vance & Hines team preview

TONGLET AND HINES READY TO RIDE SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-RODS AT MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK Hines is the Defending Winner in Memphis MILWAUKEE (Aug. 16, 2006) -- GT Tonglet couldn't have picked a better time to visit one of the drag racing surfaces he ...

TONGLET AND HINES READY TO RIDE SCREAMIN' EAGLE V-RODS AT MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK
Hines is the Defending Winner in Memphis

MILWAUKEE (Aug. 16, 2006) -- GT Tonglet couldn't have picked a better time to visit one of the drag racing surfaces he knows best. The 23-year-old Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod rider is a Louisiana native and he grew up taking plenty of trips to race at Memphis Motorsports Park.

One of the things Tonglet doesn't have to worry about during this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals is navigating a track he doesn't know. Tonglet didn't qualify for last weekend's NHRA event in Brainerd, Minn., so he will be looking to ride his V-Rod into eliminations this weekend and knowing the track will just help him reach his goal.

"I think we found the problem that kept us out of the elimination rounds in Brainerd," Tonglet said. "We turned in the third-quickest back-half time in that last round of qualifying, so I think we are on to something really positive that could turn the performance numbers around. We just found the problem too late to make the field in Brainerd. We won't have that problem this weekend. I'm confident we will be ready to go, especially in Memphis."

If there is one track that features an especially large cheering section for Tonglet and teammate Andrew Hines and the entire Screamin' Eagle team, it's Memphis.

"All of our friends and family usually make the trip to Memphis," Tonglet said. "It's the closest race to New Orleans, so we usually have a little more fun in Memphis just because everyone comes out to this race. The best part is that my dad always goes and the races are always better when he's there."

The results earned by the Screamin' Eagle squad in 2005 will be difficult to match. After all, they couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

Hines qualified in the No. 1 qualifying position. Tonglet was second. Hines won the race, beating Tonglet in the final round. The pair of Harley-Davidson riders left holding the first (Hines) and second (Tonglet) positions in the point standings too.

"It would be difficult to beat last year's outcome," Tonglet said. "Andrew and I have not faced each other in the final round since that race, so it would be fun to do that again. But the field is so explosive right now. Everyone seems to be riding well and the performances numbers from the top 10 riders are consistently quick. It's tough to win rounds right now."

Hines said the team learned plenty last weekend -- enough to carry them into good qualifying positions in Memphis.

"The bikes should be ready to qualify in the top half of the field with the changes we made," Hines said. "There are five more races left in the season and we just need to stay focused on winning rounds, but we need to qualify well and give ourselves lane choice as much as possible."

-credit: v&h

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Series NHRA
Drivers Andrew Hines , GT Tonglet