Hitting His Stride: Dion Hindi and Mean 15 Head to Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg, PA--July 17, 2006 -- Dion Hindi knew it would take a couple of months to get fully back in the swing of being on the road, racing full-time again....
Hitting His Stride: Dion Hindi and Mean 15 Head to Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, PA--July 17, 2006 -- Dion Hindi knew it would take a couple of months to get fully back in the swing of being on the road, racing full-time again. Competing with and against the World of Outlaws night in and night out is no easy task, but Hindi spent the off-season building new cars and preparing his team to do battle with the best of the best.
It had been a few years since the always affable driver had taken to the road to race. He had competed close to his Albuquerque, New Mexico home for a couple of seasons with great success, as he got the feel for driving back, after suffering severe injuries in a horrific accident at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, North Dakota in 1998.
Hindi had a little bit of an advantage entering this season, as he served as the car chief on Donny Schatz's ParkerStore J&J for part of last season. After joining the team on the World of Outlaws circuit, they picked up six wins. He got the itch to get back behind the wheel though, and worked very hard to make sure all the pieces were in place to be competitive each and every night this season.
Hindi returns this weekend to Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Penn., for three intense nights of racing during the Summer Nationals. The winner of the A-Feature on Saturday night will walk take home $20,000.
The Mean 15 have already raced at the always fast and tricky half-mile twice this season, once for a preliminary feature and the following night for an A-Feature. Hindi was very fast on the second of those two nights and looks to continue that this weekend.
"We are starting to understand our cars better," Hindi said. "We are getting them to roll better, and do what we want them to do. We had a real good run going there last time and we look to do even better this time."
Hindi has had a strong stretch of qualifying runs over the last couple months and that began at Williams Grove. He set the fast time on May 27, with 41 very strong cars on hand. Some trouble in the heat race, forced him into the B-Main on that night, and he picked up the win in that event in convincing fashion to qualify for the A-Feature.
Not only was he fast on the sweeping ½-mile at Williams Grove, but he also has shown great speed on the tight bullrings that the World of Outlaws race on as well. He was the second fastest qualifier at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway on July 7, and followed that up by earning his first pole position of the year by winning the dash. The team is confident at every track they pull into and unload the Realtruck.com/Sniper Tuning J&J.
"Every racetrack even though they are different, are really the same," said Hindi. "You have to make the cars basically do the same thing at every track you go to. You have to drive off the corner the same way at most tracks. We try to read the car and track, and from there make it do what we want it to do."
Hindi knows that the fans will turn out in droves over the weekend at Williams Grove, as they are some of the most diehard in all of racing. There may be an intense rivalry between the World of Outlaws and the Pennsylvania Posse in the fans eyes, but as a driver Hindi does not pay much attention to that, once he is strapped in the car and puts his helmet on.
"The fans take great pride in their local drivers," he said. "They are some of the best in the country. For most of us out here, we treat it as more of just a race."
The last week and a half have been tough for Hindi and his always hardworking team. They have gotten caught up in a couple accidents not of their making. They also had a couple of tires go flat, which caused some severe damage to their equipment. Always one to be optimistic, Hindi sees a silver lining, and knows that each time out, the team learns more and that experience and knowledge will lead to continued strong runs.
"I feel good at where we are at," said Hindi. "Unfortunately we've hurt a couple of cars over the last few races and are down to our last car. It's not quite the same or as good as the ones we have been running, but we'll get it up to speed."
Hindi enjoys going to Williams Grove and knows that they team has to be on their game every lap they are on the track with the bar always raised and the local drivers shooting to dethrone the Mean 15. Though the track has a character all of its own, Hindi knows that he can use information he has learned at other track both big and small this year, to help find the ideal set-up to make it down the long straight-a-ways at Williams Grove.
"We're doing what we have to do right now to get the car to react how we need it to," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's a big track or small track, you have to do the same things wherever you go. Adapting quickly is what we are after."
Hindi has picked up five top-10 finishes this season, and currently sits a solid 12th in World of Outlaws Championship points. With each race, he feels more comfortable again driving night in and night out, as the team continues running toward the front of the field. He knew it would not be easy jumping back into driving full-time racing against the best sprint car drivers in the world, but Hindi is building momentum each day and knows the more his team races, the more the stronger they will be.
"I've had to readjust my whole way of thinking," said Hindi. "Running at home versus running on the road, you have to drive totally different. Running at home, you have to be fast off the corner, running out here, you have to be fast running entering the corner and getting off it. It's a total change of mindset running out here."
Look for Hindi and his team to be fast again at Williams Grove, as they have recently made a few adjustments to their engine program which is really paying off. For the driver nicknamed "Neon Dion," it has been a long and winding road back to the drivers seat, but he is glad that he stuck with it, and as the weather outside continues to heat up, so does his teams performance.
For ticket information on the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway visit www.williamsgrove.com, or call 717-697-5000.
On Thursday, adult reserved tickets will be $30, with general admission $28, while tickets for students are just $15, and children 12-under will be admitted free. On Friday, adult reserved tickets will be $30, with general admission $28, while tickets for students are just $15, and children 12-under will be admitted free. On Saturday adult reserved tickets will be $32, with general admission $30, while tickets for students are just $15, and children 12-under will be admitted free.