St. Louis: Vance & Hines final summary

HINES LEAVES GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY WITH ONE CRUCIAL ROUND VICTORY Krawiec Suffers First Round Loss MADISON, Ill. (May 6, 2007) -- Andrew Hines knows the new point system could really help the team right now. The three-time defending ...

HINES LEAVES GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY WITH ONE CRUCIAL ROUND VICTORY
Krawiec Suffers First Round Loss

MADISON, Ill. (May 6, 2007) -- Andrew Hines knows the new point system could really help the team right now. The three-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion is coming off a round victory Sunday at Gateway International Raceway.

Hines, however, has won just two rounds in the first four races of the season on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod. But his hopes of competing for another championship haven't evaporated because of the new point system instituted by NHRA officials during the offseason.

The top eight riders after the first 11 events of the season will be eligible to race for the title. After the 11th event, the points will be readjusted, closing the gap between the eight riders -- with just 10 points separating each position. That means the No. 8 racer will be just 80 points away from first place. Each round is worth 20 points, making it possible for the eighth place rider to realistically compete for the championship.

Hines was in 11th place coming into the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals. The good news is that he beat Steve Johnson in the first round. Johnson was No. 7 in the standings. That helped Hines move into ninth place, tied with Antron Brown.

"That round win was just another step toward getting back into the top eight of the point standings," Hines said. "It was very important considering Steve is ahead of us in points. This year is going to be all about taking out the right people at the right time. We just have to figure out a way to get back into the top eight before Indy (U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in August)."

Hines turned in a 7.031-second pass at 189.71 mph to beat Johnson's 7.125 at 187.31 on his Snap-on Tools Suzuki in Round One. Hines then posted a second round loss to Angelle Sampey and the U.S. Army Suzuki team. Hines' 7.079 at 180.14 on his V-Rod came up short of Sampey's 6.947 at 192.99.

Hines had qualified in the No. 6 position with a 7.052 at 190.65. Teammate Eddie Krawiec was 12th in points coming into the weekend. Krawiec qualified in the No. 12 spot with a 7.080 at 188.15 before posting a first round loss for the second time this season.

Krawiec's 7.081 at 188.17 was not quick enough to beat Craig Treble's 7.027 at 191.46 on his Team Tigue Suzuki.

"We need to do some serious research and development before the next race," Hines said. "We're a little behind everyone now and we need to improve our qualifying position in order to bring lane choice into each round. We just need to regroup, focus more on the task at hand and figure it all out. "

Krawiec may have just four races under his belt with the Screamin' Eagle team, but he knows the group is capable of turning things around before they take on the next race -- the NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., on June 7-10.

"We have to remain upbeat and be confident that we can work this out," Krawiec said. "It's clear that we're making improvements. We took the data we had from last week's DNQ in Atlanta, improved on it and got qualified for the show. We had consistent numbers this weekend and that's a step in the right direction. We just didn't have quick enough numbers to get past the first round."

Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso agreed that it will be a matter of time before the Screamin' Eagle team is competitive again.

"We know this was a disappointing weekend for the team but Andrew did earn some valuable points and we now the team has some time to work on the V-Rods," Paluso said. "There are issues that need to be addressed but we're confident that the entire team, led by Byron and Matt Hines, will be the bikes ready for the next race."

Matt Smith earned the event victory, riding his Torco Racing Fuels Buell to his first win of the season.

-credit: v&h

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Craig Treble , Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , Steve Johnson , Angelle Sampey , Eddie Krawiec