Andrew Hines Rolls Into Virginia with Dominant Start
Dominant Start has Andrew Hines at the Top of Pro Stock Motorcycle Heading to Virginia Nhra Nationals
Andrew Hines advanced to five final rounds during the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, but never managed to break through, posting the first winless season of his incredible career since 2003. It has taken just four races in 2019 to put those struggles behind him, as the five-time world champion looks like his usual dominant self headed to this weekend’s second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Hines has already posted three wins in four events on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, building a commanding lead in the class. There seems to be no slowing down Hines at the moment, and the talented rider has been blown away by how his motorcycle has performed following his most recent win in Atlanta.
“My motorcycle is like nothing I ever had in my career before,” Hines said. “This new chassis that was concocted at our shop, we all put our two cents in, and it is working really, really good. It doesn’t do much wrong and it makes for charging through eliminations much easier. Something we’ve struggled with is a good 60-foot time and in the finals (at Atlanta), that was my best of the weekend and probably the best of the season.”
There hasn’t been a final round without Hines in 2019, an impressive return to dominance for the 51-time event winner. He became the first rider in class history to reach 50 wins with his victory in Charlotte, while Hines continued to push forward with his victory in Atlanta, which also gave Harley-Davidson its 100th career win in the class. It’s been a remarkable, milestone-filled season for Hines following a two-year stretch where he recorded just one victory, and it’s not something he takes for granted.
“The thing that has remained solid is my crew,” Hines said. “They’ve been the same the entire time. That’s a testament to how good they’ve been over the years to keep the motorcycle right and keep my mind right. Without a crew that’s as phenomenal as they are, it’s really hard to win these races.”
Keeping this impressive start going will be difficult, as Hines will have to deal with the likes of teammate Eddie Krawiec, defending world champion Matt Smith, Jerry Savoie, Hector Arana Jr. and Ryan Oehler in Virginia. But Hines is motivated to win his first world championship since 2015 and win for the first time in his career at Virginia Motorsports Park. The class made its first appearance at the track in two decades a year ago, and Hines and his teammate Krawiec will vie to become just the fifth different rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle to win at the facility.
“My bike and Eddie’s bike correlate pretty well, he’s just lacking the new chassis,” Hines said after the win in Atlanta. “We’re working on that and he will be a pain in my butt shortly. We’re also running the clutch totally different than anything we have done in the past and it is really working for us. We have the bike working really well. It is good enough to repeat and be within the top few numbers of the 60-foot sheet every single qualifying session and every round of eliminations.”
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:45 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and the final two rounds of qualifying at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 19.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com