Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals
Hines and Tonglet go rounds at Maple Grove
Hines led the Pro Stock Motorcycle category going into final eliminations after riding his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 7.098-second time at 189.18 mph before he moved on to his sixth semifinal appearance of the season.
Hines and the team also took home the Full Throttle Award that is given to the most consistent team in qualifying. It was the ninth Full Throttle Award of the season out of 13 NHRA POWERade events so far. Teammate GT Tonglet qualified in the eighth position with a 7.166 at 190.03.
"To have Andrew surpass his previous season-best number of qualifying awards (eight in 2004) is just awesome," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "Both riders qualified in the top half of the field and both riders are still on the march to the 2005 championship. The team has worked extremely hard to be able to be in the position to defend the 2004 championship."
The two Screamin' Eagle V-Rod riders didn't walk away with the victory, but the team was still pleased with the results.
"After both of us lost in the first round at the last race (U.S. Nationals at
"I would like to see the bikes get a little quicker before we head to the final two events of the season. This team works so hard and it would be nice to see the work reflected in improved performance in the last two races."
Hines rode his Screamin' Eagle V-Rod to a first round victory over Gene Scali (Suzuki) with a 7.091 pass at 188.94 to beat Scali's 7.176 at 185.89. Tonglet earned the first round win over Mike Berry (
In Round Two, Hines went 7.147 at 187.23 to top Tonglet's 7.194 at 186.41. It was the fourth time the teammates have met up in eliminations this season. Hines has the edge, leading the season series matchups 3-1. Hines fell to eventual race champion
With just two events remaining on the national schedule, Hines leads the championship with a 42-point lead over Tonglet. Hines has 966 points, Tonglet has 924 points and Sampey has 817 in third place.
"The best thing about the weekend was that there was good, close racing," team owner Byron Hines said. "We've been working on the mechanical reliability of the bikes and I think we made some headway between the last two events. We want to finish the season strong with some competitive performance numbers, so we need to make sure we are prepared for the last two events of the season."
Andrew Hines has been the points leader following the last three events. The defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion said the competition is forcing the Screamin' Eagle squad to work overtime before the next event.
"We saw some teams out there excelling in areas over us and that just makes us want to work even more," Hines said. "We need to get back to the shop, push ourselves as hard as we can and find a little more horsepower to make sure we don't do the same thing we did last season, which was lose in the first round at the last two events of the season.
"Racing GT in eliminations is nerve-racking but there isn't anyone else I would rather be fighting the championship with. It's tough racing your teammate, but I'm glad we're both still battling for the title this far into the season."
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