Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines defended his lead in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, winning three rounds in Sunday eliminations aboard a Harley-Davidson V-Rod while advancing to the Pro Stock Motorcycle finals for the fifth-consecutive event. Hines lost in the final to Nitrofish Suzuki rider LE Tonglet.
After two of six Countdown events, Hines leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle class by 66 points. However, Tonglet gained 22 points on Hines this weekend.Andrew Hines says: "Fifth race in a row we made the finals, and it’s all about consistency at this point in the season, so the team is happy about that. Only Tonglet is picking up any ground on us. We seem to be pulling away from the pack, so maybe that’s how it’s going to play out this year."Hines won two of four qualifying rounds for the event, posting a 6.913 elapsed time (ET) in the second round that led the field until the final qualifying session on Saturday, when Tonglet ran 6.910 to take the top spot.Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Ed Krawiec was right behind Hines, with a 6.914-second run that was good for third in qualifying.In Sunday eliminations, Hines opened with a wins over Pirana Z Buell rider Junior Pippin and Pistonator Suzuki rider Craig Treble, and got a pass in round three when Coffman Tank Truck Buell rider Angie Smith left the line early and fouled.In the final, Hines left the line first with a reaction time of 0.012 seconds to 0.035 for Tonglet, but a 6.972 ET by Hines could not hold off the rookie down the track, as Tonglet ran 6.921 to get the win.Andrew Hines says: "I should have done better than that in the final. Conditions didn’t change, so I don’t know what happened but the bike just didn’t make the power. We’ll just keep battling."Krawiec moved up to third place in the Countdown points race, and is now 167 points behind Hines. The Screamin’ Eagle rider defeated VRoom Racing Buell rider David Hope in the first round of eliminations, and then lost to Angie Smith in round two after a 0.084 reaction time left him too far behind at the start.Ed Krawiec says: "It’s good to move up in points, but getting to the next level is going to be a lot harder. I’ve been struggling with the tree and slow lights for two events now. I need to focus on that part of my race and hit the tree a little better."After two of six rounds in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown, Hines leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with 2,347 points. Tonglet holds down second with 2,281 points, followed by Krawiec with 2,180. Racers Edge Suzuki rider Michael Phillips is fourth with 2,176 points, followed by Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana with 2,171 points.The next Pro Stock Motorcycle event on the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 23-26, at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.