HINES KICKS OFF SEASON FINALE WITH PROVISIONAL TOP QUALIFYING POSITION AT POMONA Hines Aiming for Third Consecutive Championship POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2006) -- Andrew Hines kicked off the season finale of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season...
HINES KICKS OFF SEASON FINALE WITH PROVISIONAL TOP QUALIFYING POSITION AT POMONA
Hines Aiming for Third Consecutive Championship
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2006) -- Andrew Hines kicked off the season finale of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season Thursday at Pomona Raceway with a pass that let him take a long, deep, focused breath.
Hines rode his Screamin' Eagle/ Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position Thursday during the first of four qualifying sessions for the season finale Automobile Club of Southern California Finals at Pomona Raceway.
While Hines earned a runner-up finish here in 2005 en route to his second consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing championship, the Southern California native hasn't always had good luck here.
"I don't have the best history here, but I think that's starting to turn around," Hines said. "We qualified well here and went to the final round here last year, but that will only take you so far a year later. Now we have to stay focused on the current conditions and what it will take to get this V-Rod down the track in the best time possible."
Hines is in the middle of a championship chase. He had a 37-point lead over second place rider Antron Brown going into the final race of the season.
"We are focused on earning that No. 1 qualifying position," Hines said. "We are going to do whatever we can to make all the right calls to keep it because every point counts and it's too close to not fight for every point. "
Hines recorded a 7.020-second pass at 191.00 mph to fly to the top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. If qualifying positions were to stay the same, Hines would earn eight points for the top qualifying award while Brown would take three for his current No. 8 position.
Hines said the team had to tone down the tuneup that helped win the event in Las Vegas two weeks ago.
"The Vegas setup was a little more violent than the track could handle here," Hines said. "I have an amazing team working on this V-Rod and they made the right calls to lay down a great first pass.
"We are solidly in the show now and that means we can focus on improving our setup and prepare for Sunday's final eliminations. If the weather gets better, we might even see a few 6.90s out of this category. It's going to be a very competitive weekend."
Hines said he has worked on his mental approach to racing more than anything else lately.
"All I am doing is focusing on racing," Hines said. "Terry Vance has really helped me learn how to be a more focused racer and person. I think that has helped us stay in the chase for a championship. Our entire team is working for one goal and that's to defend our title."
Teammate GT Tonglet qualified in the No. 9 position with a 7.107 pass at 185.61.
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying continues 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.
All the action at the Auto Club Finals can be seen on ESPN2 starting Saturday with two hours of coverage at 10 p.m. (ET), continuing with three hours of final eliminations on Sunday at 7 p.m. (ET).