Three-time defending NHRA champion Andrew Hines, appearing in his third straight final, won his second straight event by defeating point leader Matt Smith in the Norwalk final. After a sluggish start can Hines reclaim the top spot in the points? With the new playoff-point system Hines’ chances at a fourth straight title are promising.
Andrew Hines had one wish going into the weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. He wanted to win the event – the inaugural event, no less, at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
His wish came true on Sunday.
Hines rode his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod to his third consecutive final round appearance, winning for the second time.
“It was such a great first weekend in Norwalk,” Hines, 24, said. “I can’t believe I got my wish to be the first person to win this race. We rarely get the opportunity to win an inaugural event and to actually do it here is tremendous.
“My brother (Matt Hines) won the inaugural event in Chicago (Route 66 Raceway in 1998) and I thought that was a great feat. To be able to do the same thing with him tuning the bike is even better.”
The current three-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion said the best part about racing at a new track was the fan support.
“It was such a great weekend because of the fans and the support,” Hines said. “It’s always exciting going to a new track but to come out here, with all of the fans rooting us on, made the weekend even better. We signed a ton of autographs and it was obvious that there is a huge Harley-Davidson following here.”
Hines beat Matt Smith and the Torco Racing Fuels Buell team in the final round for the second time this season. Hines bested Smith in the final at Route 66 Raceway just a few weeks ago.
Hines recorded a 6.998-second pass at 190. 46 mph top beat Smith’s 10.961 at 70.13.
“I have to admit that I wasn’t all that confident going into the final because Matt has been really fast and he’s the points leader because he’s so consistent,” Hines said. “Hopefully we can catch up to him in points. If we keep running the way we have been lately, I think it’s possible. But Matt Smith is a tough customer. He’s been on his game all season long and it was great that my team was able to give me the bike that could beat him.”
Hines qualified in the No. 3 position with a 6.995 at 191.46. Smith was the top qualifier of the weekend with a track record E.T. of 6.965 at 189.60. Hines beat Paul Gast and the Fast By Gast Suzuki team in the opening round (6.998 at 189.87 to a 15.881 at 38.92) before beating Steve Johnson and the Snap-on Tools Suzuki team in the second round (6.978 at 191.08 to a 7.051 at 188.81). Hines beat Chip Ellis and the Drag Specialties S&S Buell team (6.985 at 190.06 to red light foul) in the semifinals