It took Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Andrew Hines nearly 15 years to win 50 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle events, and at the rate he’s going now, he might well knock off another 50 titles before he’s done. After suffering through a winless 2018 season, Hines has gone on an epic tear this season with four wins in the first five races. Hines’ latest victory came in Richmond, Virginia, where he stopped teammate Eddie Krawiec in the final round. Kicking off the final with identical reaction times, Hines nosed ahead at the finish line to win by inches, 6.845 to 6.858. It was Hines’ 52nd-career victory, by far the most for a Pro Stock Motorcycle racer. It also came on the hottest weekend of the year, with temperatures in the 90s on all three days.
Andrew Hines Makes 4 of 5 In Richmond NHRA
“This was a hot one, for sure,” Hines said. “It was hot, but we’ve developed a great hot weather tune-up for our Harley-Davidson Street Rods. We took what we’ve learned over the last few weeks and used it to improve the tune-up. I work on these bikes, and we never go to the starting line with the same tune-up twice. We’re always trying something new.
“It was also cool to win here in Richmond. I went to the final round last year but lost to LE [Tonglet]. This is a great track for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. It’s pool table flat, and we don’t have to worry about a single bump. That takes a lot off your mind as a rider.”
Winning four of the first five races of the season has been no accident for Hines, who now has a 17-1 record in elimination rounds to start the season. His only loss came in the final round of the Las Vegas Four-Wide event when an electrical malfunction prevented his Street Rod from starting. Hines delivered another dominant performance in Richmond, which began with a 6.812-second run in qualifying that led the 16-bike field and set the Virginia Motorsports Park track record. From there, Hines made his way past rookie Jianna Salinas and Ryan Oehler before facing reigning world champion Matt Smith’s Denso EBR in the semi-final round. Smith figured to be one of the few riders who could challenge Hines, but he came up short in a thrilling 6.837 to 6.856 side-by-side match.
“That was a big win to get past Matt,” Hines said. “We were told that he went back to the engine that he ran last November in Pomona; the one that he won the championship with. It’s good to know that we can run with him when he’s got his best stuff in the bike. We’ve been busy building new bikes, so we haven’t done much engine development since last year. We still need to find a bit of speed because we’re making up all our performance in the first half of the track.”
Hines defeated teammate Krawiec in the final round in Gainesville and Charlotte, but he knows that streak may come to an end soon. Krawiec, a four-time NHRA Champion, debuted a new Harley Street Rod in Richmond, and without any testing, the bike shows tremendous potential. Krawiec qualified number two with a 6.822, just one-hundredth of a second slower than Hines. Krawiec’s toughest challenge also came in the final four round where he defeated the Lucas Oil EBR of Las Vegas winner Hector Arana Jr., 6.863 to a 6.902.
“I am a little worried about Eddie,” Hines admitted. “In the final, he got behind me early and then almost caught me. This was the first race for his bike, and we haven’t done any testing. Once we get a better handle on what we’re doing, we know we can pick up more. These new bikes are really good. They plant the rear tire very well, and that lets us use more engine timing and better gear ratios to apply more power. The total package is really good. Both bikes go straight down the track. You don’t have to make any corrections. I got moved around a little in the final because of the wind, but that’s about it. Everything else was really good.”
With the win, Hines is the first rider to win four of the first five events to start a season since his older brother, Matt, in 1998.
“I was 15-years old in 1998, and I remember Matt winning all those races,” Hines said. “He won this [Richmond] race and gave me the winner’s jacket. I’m sure I still have it, so maybe I should repay the favor and give him this one.”
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