A Little Closer to Home: Dion Hindi Ready for Trip to USA Race Park Over the last eight months, Dion Hindi has traveled thousands of miles from coast-to-coast competing with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. In all of that time, he has made it...
A Little Closer to Home: Dion Hindi Ready for Trip to USA Race Park
Over the last eight months, Dion Hindi has traveled thousands of miles from coast-to-coast competing with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. In all of that time, he has made it back home once. That came in late June, four months after the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida on February 9.
For Hindi, home is Albuquerque, New Mexico, a distant trek from the majority of the tracks that dot the World of Outlaws schedule.
The single time he did make it back to his shop and was able to sleep in his own bed, Hindi had to journey over 1,100 miles from the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa to return for a very short stay, before a 700-plus mile to 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas.
This weekend though, Hindi will "only" have to travel about 500 miles to make it to Arizona for the Outlaw Desert Classic. The first race will be Friday night at the storied Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, followed by a stop at USA Race Park in Tucson on Saturday. This will be the second visit of the year for the Outlaws at both tracks.
Though Arizona is not quite in his backyard, the always cordial and well-spoken driver, he has many fans in the area having cut his teeth racing there along with his native New Mexico. Hindi's bright yellow car that has earned him the nickname "Neon Dion" is always a fan favorite, especially in the Southwest, where he has won over 50 sprint car races in his career.
"I get to see a lot of my old friends," said Hindi, driver of the Realtruck.com J&J, while preparing for the Outlaw Desert Classic. "It's the closest we race to home. It's not quite my home track, but it's as close as it gets."
Not only will he get to catch up with old friends this week, but Hindi will also get to entertain family members that rarely get to see him in action, which also has him very excited.
"My nephew is going to college in Tucson and that weekend is parent's weekend, so he'll come out along with my sisters and my whole family," said the second generation driver. "That will be a little bit special as well."
Earlier this season when the World of Outlaws Sprint Series visited the tight 3/8-mile oval, it marked only the second time in his career than Hindi had raced at USA Race Park and ironically it was the first time he took to the racy 3/8-mile bullring in a winged sprint car. Hindi always enjoys racing on the smaller tracks and has had plenty of success on them as well. One of the reasons he likes the tight tracks so much is that things happen in a hurry and it truly tests a driver's reflexes and mind every lap on the track.
"I raced at USA Race Park once before this year, and that was in a non-wing car," stated Hindi. "It is nothing like I remember it. The first race there this year was a lot different than I remembered the track being. Going back now it's going to be a lot smaller yet than it used to be."
Many teams that compete with the World of Outlaws are based in Indianapolis and other centralized locations, and they are able to return to their shops numerous times over the course of the season to regroup and restock, Hindi and his crew by necessity have adapted pretty easily to always being on the road and using many locales as their "shop" away from home. Finding places to work on the car is the easy part, it is how to fill the time when the work is done that can get tricky. It also can lead to some big phone bills for Hindi, as he keeps up-to-date with family and friends, who are back in New Mexico.
"It can be frustrating (not being able to go home)," commented the veteran driver. "For example, over the last month we have been racing only on the weekends, so there the whole week in between and you are on the phone with everyone back home. You're just sitting around after you get all your work done, thinking about wanting to be at home. It takes a little bit of getting used to."
During the latter part of the season it has been just Hindi and his crew chief Lester Groves working on the car. Groves came onboard during the Gold Rush Tour in September, after working with another team earlier in the season. For many people it would wear on their nerves driving countless miles day after day and seeing the same person sitting next to them, but it does not seem to bother Hindi or Groves.
"Lester (Groves) is a little bit like me in that I understand what he is doing and he understands what I am doing," explained Hindi. "We don't have to talk all the time. We know what each other is doing and we stay out of each other's way. I can tell when he wants to be left alone and he can tell when I want to be left alone. It works out pretty well that way."
With four races left before closing the book on the season, Hindi is 12th in series championship points. He has eight Top-10 finishes in his first season back racing full-time on the road. He also has set fast time twice, including at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania. In addition to this, he has won two dashes that have earned him two pole positions.
Hindi has the same goal in mind every time he rolls onto the track, and that is to give it everything that he has. One of the most polite driver's away from the track, he is one of the most determined and focused on the track, when he straps into the cockpit.
"Our plan is to go as fast as we can, as hard as we can, every lap," said a smiling Hindi.
Expect him to go extra fast this weekend in the Outlaw Desert Classic after spending a few days at home, sleeping in his own bed and working in his own shop. Having turned laps at USA Race Park earlier this season, he is confident he and Groves will have a good set up on the car that will help him be competitive all night long.
For ticket information for the October 21 race USA Race Park, visit www.slspromotions.com, or call 815-344-2023. Adult general admission tickets start at $32.