ANDREW HINES STAYS HOT IN RICHMOND, WINS FOURTH RACE OF 2019
Andrew Hines continues to add his already Hall of Fame-type resume.
Hines stormed to victory in the Virginia NHRA Nationals on Saturday at Virginia Motorsports Park, beating Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate Eddie Krawiec in the final round.
The win was the 52nd of his Pro Stock Motorcycle career, extending his lead in the category. He matched Joe Amato for 11th all-time across all NHRA classes.
And Hines scored his fourth victory in the first five PSM races of the season, matching a feat accomplished by older brother Matt Hines in 1998.
All that came after matching Matt Hines and Krawiec for second place on the all-time PSM No. 1 qualifiers with 44. But Hines and his Harley team are far from finished adding to those stellar numbers.
"All in all, we had a spectacular weekend," Hines said. "(Number) one and two qualifiers, and Angelle (Sampey) was fifth. She made a killer lap in the first round of eliminations. … This was her turning point for the weekend for her riding. … We're looking forward to more success with all three bikes consistently.
"The new chassis is really good. It's very forgiving. It plants the tire completely differently than what we've had in the past. We're able to apply more power, we're able to run more ignition timing through first gear and utilize the gear ratio we've got. … The total package is really good."
Hines showed that Sunday. He was second-quickest of the first round in beating Jianna Salias, third-quickest of the second round in beating Ryan Oehler, quickest of the semifinals in beat Matt Smith and quickest in the final in beating Krawiec.
Yes, you can say Hines and his team have a pretty good handle on the Harley Street Rod.
"We have developed a very good hot-weather tuneup for our Street Rods," Hines said. "That's saying a lot. Typically, we tend to not look forward to the middle of the season because that's where our performance kinda of falls off and people tend to make up the ground on us. Today, we took what we've learned the last couple weeks between Charlotte, when it got hot, and Atlanta, when it was really hot, and worked on the tuneup. Every round, we don't go up there with the same tuneup, ever."
Hines needed a spot-on tuneup against Smith, who actually had lane choice for their matchup. Smith, too, brought out his powerful engine used earlier in the season for the semis, but Hines and the Harley was up to the task.
Hines left first with an .025-second reaction time and then made a good pass of 6.837 seconds at 196.62 mph to outrun Smith's 6.856-second run at 196.67 mph.
"We haven't done much engine development since Pomona," Hines said. "Our dyno is just now getting up and going, so we can work on it and try and make some more horsepower. The newest ECU we got from MoTeC on there … it opens up so many doors, and now we’re able to utilize more of the power the engine is making. We're closer to that performance gap that (Smith's) engine had in Pomina. It's nice to see that we can run with him – we're out 60-footing him now, too. Our bikes are working really, really well.
"I didn't know that he had brought out the good one, so it’s nice to know that we can take that one down. You saw he was putting up big speeds. We're hanging right there with him."
Hines and Krawiec had identical reaction times in the final, which meant the winner would be decided by who had the best bike. It was Hines, whose 6.845 edged Krawiec's 6.858.
"Cool to win here and Richmond," Hines said. "I went to the finals here last year and runnered-up to L.E. Tonglet. I've really look forward to coming back to this event because it's pool-table flat out there. You don't have to worry about a single bump all the way down the race track. I knew my bike was 60-footing really well last year and we just kind of took the same mentality into this race."