Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines leads the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs after a run to the final round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals. It was the sixth consecutive final-round appearance for Hines on his V-Rod. But in the final round, he lost to Nitrofish Suzuki
rider LE Tonglet.
After three of six Countdown events, Hines holds a 44 point lead over Tonglet in the battle for the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship, as he gave up 22 points this weekend.
“Tonglet isn't racing like a rookie, he’s not afraid of anybody right now,” said Hines, who has lost the last three final-round matches to Tonglet. “We slowly lost our tune-up all weekend. We’ve been getting some bad data off the bike, and then misinterpreting that information. I think Matt (crew chief Matt Hines) has it figured out now. We’ve still got the lead and the Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod is really performing right now, so we’ll just keep fighting.”
Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Ed Krawiec is in third place in countdown points, after winning a round of qualifying on Saturday and advancing to the semi-finals on Sunday. Krawiec’s 6.924-second pass was good for the number-two spot in qualifying after Al-Anabi Racing Buell
rider Matt Smith made a 6.923-second run in the final round to take the top spot. On Sunday, Krawiec blasted through the first two rounds with wins over Pirana Z Buell rider Junior Pippen and VRoom Racing Buell rider David Hope. Krawiec faced Tonglet in the third round, and lost at the line as both riders made 6.969-second runs. Tonglet won with a 0.011-second reaction time to Krawiec’s 0.030 light.
“It’s tough to lose with a .030 light,” said Krawiec. “Nine races out of 10 that will get you a win on the Harley V-Rod. I think we found a tune-up that really works on my bike this weekend, and we won some rounds. I had a very fast motorcycle today.”
Hines got wins in the first two rounds on Sunday when Coffman Tank Truck Buell rider Angie Smith and Lincoln Tech Suzuki rider Steve Johnson each fouled at the starting line. In round three, Hines used a better 0.032/6.988 combined time to beat the 0.056/6.979 pass of Matt Smith.
That set up another face-off between the three-time champion, Hines, and the hot rookie, Tonglet. Hines ended the race quickly when he left the start line 0.006-seconds early for a foul.
“We knew I would have to be quick off the line, and we changed the tune-up to the same as was in Ed’s bike, but didn’t get the clutch right,” said Hines. “So I got my power back but then left early. That was a set-up error.”
Hines thinks records could be shattered when the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series appears Oct. 7-10 at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals.
“We have not raced at Reading this late in the season since 2001,” said Hines. “The air is probably going to be really cool, which means everyone can make more power. Maple Grove is already a fast track, and the Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod really likes cold air. It should be an exciting weekend.”
After three of six rounds in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown, Hines leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with 2,444 points. Tonglet is second with 2,400 points, followed by Krawiec with 2,264. Matt Smith moves up to fourth place with 2,248 points, followed by Johnson with 2,217 points.