Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
Hines earns the top qualifying position
Sonoma, Saturday: Andrew Hines and the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod team will start final eliminations at Infineon Raceway from their favorite spot – the top.
Hines will attempt to defend his FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals race title Sunday and for the second consecutive season, he will also start from the No. 1 qualifying position.
Hines – the reigning two-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion – jumped to the top of the qualifying ladder with a 6.974-second pass at 192.69 mph to take the top qualifying position for the 19th time in his career and first time this season. Teammate GT Tonglet was 15th with a 7.094 pass at 189.92. It was the quickest Pro Stock Bike field in NHRA history.
"Our Screamin' Eagle team is looking to repeat the results from last season," Hines said. "We won two weeks ago in Denver and we're hungry for another win. If we can keep up these positive results we will be looking really good for the championship chase coming down to the end of the season."
Hines ran the current national record – a 6.968 – in the first round of this event last season. This was his third six-second run of his career.
"That was a great qualifying session for this team," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "We've been picking up momentum in the last couple of events and this is what we've been aiming for. We had four consistently quick runs and that should add to the motivation this team has to repeat the win here in Sonoma."
Not only was the qualifying field the quickest in history, it was also the first time more than one rider recorded a six-second pass in the same weekend. Tom Bradford (6.981) and the Hal's Harley-Davidson Buell team, Antron Brown (6.981) and the U.S. Army Suzuki team and Chip Ellis (6.998) and the G Squared Motorsports Buell team also recorded sub-seven-second passes in qualifying.
"It's anyone's race if you can qualify for eliminations," Hines said. "We won Denver from the No. 9 position. The track is so nice. It's really smooth and capable of fast times and everyone is trying to take advantage of the conditions."
/fontfamily>/fontfamily>/center>Final eliminations start at noon.
Hines ran a 7.026 pass in the fourth and final pass with a new motor, giving the team added confidence. They also produced a 7.000 and a 7.055 during qualifying on Friday.
"That was the first time we ran that motor but we wanted to get at least one lap on it before eliminations," Hines said. "But we have that 6.97-motor waiting for us for first round. We know the competition is tough, but we have some good runs under us this weekend and that's a great feeling going into race day."
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