Pomona II: Vance & Hines preview

Hines and Tonglet Riding To Keep Their NHRA Powerade Point Positions At Season Finale Hines Aiming for Third Consecutive Championship MILWAUKEE (Nov. 6, 2006) -- Only one rider will walk away from this weekend's season finale event with the NHRA...

Hines and Tonglet Riding To Keep Their NHRA Powerade Point Positions At Season Finale
Hines Aiming for Third Consecutive Championship

MILWAUKEE (Nov. 6, 2006) -- Only one rider will walk away from this weekend's season finale event with the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle trophy. That means only one rider will have bragging rights for the nearly four month offseason.

Southern California native Andrew Hines is hoping he is going to be that rider.

It might not be an impossible dream, either. After all, the 23-year-old rider was the runner-up at this event last year. But as Hines and the rest of the NHRA POWERade series competitors prepare to battle at the Automobile Club of Southern California Finals this weekend, Hines is the first to admit that last year doesn't mean anything.

"It's the end of the season and it's great knowing that no matter what, we did our best as a team," Hines said. "But winning the race is my top goal. I had a chance at it last year and I earned a trip to the finals, but didn't win. This race is one of my favorites and I am doing whatever I can to be prepared to compete for the win. I want to be able to cross it off my list of things to accomplish in my career.

"It would be great to get the trophy but it would also mean a lot to end the season on such a good note. It would be awesome to go into the offseason with a race win knowing that you're the guy who finished the season perfectly with four win lights."

A win would also help Hines turn his back-to-back NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championships into a three-some. Hines took over the points lead en route to the event victory at the previous event, the Oct. 29 race in Las Vegas.

Hines has been the points leader following five events so far in the 15-race season. Hines said the team wants the positive feelings from Las Vegas to spill over into Pomona.

"We have to go into Pomona with the momentum we gained in Las Vegas," Hines said. "We have to focus on getting the bike qualified and then once that's done, we are going to be shooting for the moon. We need every piece to be in the right place to make a third title possible. There is just one race left so we only have one shot at this third championship."

Teammate GT Tonglet also made strides in Las Vegas. He made his first final round appearance of the season and climbed back into the top 10 of the POWERade point standings.

If Tonglet can stay in the top 10 it will be the fifth top 10 finish of his six-year career.

"My goal is to stay in the top 10 and it would help to have another race like we did in Las Vegas," Tonglet said. "Last year I lost in the first round at Pomona and you always want to do better than the year before. The more I go rounds, the more goals will be accomplished. Las Vegas gave me a boost of confidence that I needed and that really lifted my spirits going into the final race of the year. Now I'm determined to go rounds and keep my points position."

Tonglet said his V-Rod is running well, especially in the beginning of each run.

"The bike is running so well and hopefully it stays that way," Tonglet said. "The bike is getting off the line well and turning in great 60-foot times. It's been awesome and I think the numbers are going to be there in Pomona too. I'm really excited about this event."

Hines has earned three wins in five final rounds this season. Now he must juggle keeping the points lead while aiming for a fourth season victory.

"We took over the points lead and now we have to defend it," Hines said. "I have such a great team working on this Screamin' Eagle V-Rod and that makes all the difference in the world. I have a lot more confidence because of the team. I think the bike will be ready and I know I will be ready so we just have to go out and fire on all cylinders and see what happens. I think it's great that the team has earned the right to battle for a third title. That says a lot about the crew."

Matt Hines is part of that crew. The three-time NHRA champion is not only the crew chief for the team, but also Andrew Hines' older brother. The older sibling continues to add more motivation to each race.

"My brother won Pomona in 2002 and that was the last race of his career," Andrew Hines said. "He beat me that day. I turned in a perfect reaction time and he still beat me. He won three championships and I'm trying to match what he did. He won Pomona and now he's helping tune the bike so I have a chance to win that race too."

What better place for a storybook ending than Southern California?

"We love this race because of the history and the location," Tonglet said. "We always make a trip out to Hollywood and check things out. But this track is amazing. This is where champions are crowned. This is the race that everyone works for all year long. This is the race that determines whether all that work paid off. I know our team will be ready for it."

Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying starts at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, continuing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Qualifying will wrap up Saturday at 11 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. before final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

-credit: se

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Andrew Hines , GT Tonglet