2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series Racers At A Glance: Dion Hindi Orlando -- Dec. 1, 2005 -- Dion Hindi is no stranger to the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. A native of Albuquerque and one of the most respected racers in the Southwest, Hindi...
2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series Racers At A Glance: Dion Hindi
Orlando -- Dec. 1, 2005 -- Dion Hindi is no stranger to the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. A native of Albuquerque and one of the most respected racers in the Southwest, Hindi is a regular resident of Victory Lane at many speedways in New Mexico and Arizona. In addition, he has competed against the World of Outlaws, the world's greatest collection of sprint car racers, since the mid-1990s.
Last season, Hindi, 35, took on a new role. After coming off of a 2004 season when he raced with several series to post five wins, 17 top-fives and 28 top-10s, he raced with the Outlaws in April in Oklahoma and Kansas then joined the Schatz Motorsports team in late summer to help crew chief Ricky Warner and driver Donny Schatz power through the final couple of months of the season as the hottest team on the circuit.
On top of his clear talents behind the wheel, Hindi is one of the most personable drivers in the pits -- or even behind the microphone, where he worked as a color commentator to lend his expertise on the Dirt Radio Network's Dirtvision.com broadcast during a Gold Cup preliminary night in September at Silver Dollar Speedway.
Hindi had been eyeing an opportunity to return to competition with the Outlaws, and jumped on the chance to race with the series in 2006 with Syzmo Energy Drink on board as his primary sponsor.
"I could see that a lot of doors were going to open for people in 2006," Hindi said. "That was one of the reasons I went on the road with Donny. It helped put me back in the eye of the public. After I got hurt in 1998, I took a year and a half off, but I've been racing ever since then. Unfortunately, I live in the black hole of racing. You can win every race down here but nobody outside of the immediate area really knows it. Every once in a while I would venture out to the rest of the world and race here and there. I'd see people at Knoxville and they'd ask if I was still racing. I was thinking, 'I ran 35 shows last year.'
"The cars are basically the same, but there are a few things that are different here and there. Helping Donny was a duel intent, just to try to get him running a little better and finishing all the races but also to get a little more exposure."
Hindi knew racing would be a significant part of his life from the time he was very young, and after helping Schatz visit Victory Lane nine times last season he is ready to climb back behind the wheel once again.
"I grew up watching my father race before he got hurt," Hindi said. "I can't imagine anything better than driving a racecar. The Outlaws afford an opportunity for people to play for a living, kind of like a professional baseball player or basketball player. It's not really a job, even though it's a lot of work."
Hindi no doubt will lean on his experience when the green flag waves on the 2006 season in February at Volusia Speedway Park. While he expects it to take a little bit of time to readjust to racing with the Outlaws, he is confident victories will follow.
"I have the experience, as far as I've been racing for a long time," Hindi said. "Mentally, I know I'm a lot better than I used to be, but things have changed so much. That's the difficult part between racing locally and with the professionals. It's such a drastic change. It's amazing how quick and how fast the Outlaws can find the best part of the racetrack. That's why they've always been so good. From the first lap they already know the best part of the racetrack, and if it's not there they find somewhere. They're able to change their driving styles so quickly. When you race too much with local guys, you end up producing bad habits and getting into ruts that aren't productive when you race against professional competition. The old adage you're only as good as your competition is much more true in sprint cars than a lot of other aspects of life.
"I don't have any elusions of going out and being back in top form right away being ready to immediately threaten for a win every night. But I think the experience that I have had and I have done it before, we have made every race before, but it was a lot different than it is now. It's going to be a challenge, a big challenge, but I don't think it will take long to remember what I was doing. I remember when I sat out for a year, when I got back in the car it took me a night to remember what I was doing. The next two nights we ran second and we won the next six races in a row. It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to going that speed and that intense for as many laps as the race is."
But there's no question Hindi's already successful career in 410 sprint car racing will make him one of the drivers to watch on the track and a fan favorite off of it.