Sonoma: Valvoline/Eagle One preview

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hines Set for Somona Debut For three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Hines, the timing of the inaugural bike class event at Infineon Raceway, in Somona, Calif., couldn't be better. This weekend's Fram-Autolite ...

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hines Set for Somona Debut

For three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Hines, the timing of the inaugural bike class event at Infineon Raceway, in Somona, Calif., couldn't be better. This weekend's Fram-Autolite Nationals comes after Hines rode his Eagle One Suzuki to his first victory of the season in the most recent race, July 21, at Bandimere Speedway. His final-round opponent, Angelle Savoie, red-lighted.

"The last few races, I think we've just been a win waiting to happen," said Hines, now with an NHRA record 29 bike victories. "The Vance & Hines Eagle One Suzuki has been working flawlessly. We haven't had the breaks to go rounds. To win, after so long (over a year), it feels like my very first win."

Hines on competing at Infineon Raceway and getting his Eagle One Suzuki to perform well at the track: "We were able to pick up on some stuff in Chicago. Our bike really started working well there. It also ran well in Columbus and we were able to qualify No. 1. It is going to be warm all summer long and I think the conditions are going to be fairly similar from St. Louis through the rest of the summer months. We don't know what the conditions are going to be like at Sonoma exactly, but if it is hot, then we have some data from the other hot tracks that we can use. Right now our bike is working good and if we can keep going this way, we should be in good shape before the summer is out.

"The key is to just qualify well and be as consistent as possible. We don't need to lose any ground in the points. We need to start earning as many points as we can."

Top Fuel: Russell Wins 2 Straight

Darrell Russell is the hottest driver in the NHRA POWERade Series, having won two consecutive weeks on consecutive weekends, at Denver and Seattle. He now has three wins this season and has moved into the top five in Top Fuel points in the Valvoline-backed Bilstein English Flush dragster. After an unproductive start to the season, team owner Joe Amato hired Wayne Dupuy as crew chief beginning at Las Vegas (fourth event) and the new combination has been making steady progress.

Continuing one of the most successful partnerships in modern motor racing, Valvoline returns in 2002 for the 19th season as a sponsor of Joe Amato's Top Fuel team. From 1984 through his retirement after the 2000 campaign, Valvoline's technical, product and financial support helped Amato to five Top Fuel championships and 52 victories, both NHRA records. Darrell Russell added to the record in 2001, with two wins, and NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in Amato's dragster. Bilstein Engine Flush is Amato Racing's new primary sponsor.

Pro Stock: Krisher Coming Off Semi Run

Ron Krisher made the semifinals in Monday's rain-delayed Lucas Northwest Nationals at Seattle in his Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier. He is currently fifth in Pro Stock points and has five No. 1 qualifying runs this season.

Krisher has now qualified for an impressive 61 consecutive Pro Stock events, going back to the year 2000 season-opener at Pomona. Pro Stock may well be the most competitive racing series in the world, with between 34-37 cars typically trying for the 16 qualifying positions. Krisher was one of only four drivers to qualify for all 24 NHRA events in 2001.

Krisher owns his own drag racing engine development company, KRJ, located in Newark, Ohio. His company supplies engines to Pro Stock competitors Tom Hammonds and V. Gaines. Before entering Pro Stock, Krisher raced sports cars on road courses and sprint cars on dirt, and he's a self-made entrepreneur.

NEXT EVENT: Rugged Liner Nationals, Brainerd Raceway, Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 16-18.

-v/eo-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher , Tom Hammonds