Andrew Hines (NHRA photo)
Andrew Hines raced to the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle victory for the fourth time in his career Saturday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the world's most prestigious drag race.
Hines beat the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying leader and bonus event top seed Hector Arana in the final round at historic O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis to earn the $25,000 payday for the special event that features the eight best bike teams from the last year.
Hines took the win on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson when Arana fouled at the start on his Lucas Oil Buell.
"I can't tell you what this means to me," said Hines, who also scored Ringers titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007. "It was tough to see Hector go red but as soon as I saw my win light on, I thought to myself, 'I just won 25 grand.' With the economy being what it is, this really does a lot for our team. To win this race four times is also special. The only other riders who have done that are my brother, Matt, and John Myers. John was my idol and to be a member of that club really means a lot to me."
In other racing, Larry Dixon, Robert Hight and Mike Edwards joined Arana in maintaining their No. 1 qualifying positions at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event, the final race of the regular season. Sunday's final qualifying sessions are at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Monday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m. The top 10 teams in each pro category following this event will compete in the six-race Countdown to 1, NHRA's championship playoffs.
Dixon continued to lead Top Fuel qualifying order with his performance of 3.850 at 306.81 from Friday.
"I have egg on my face, because I said [Friday night] that the 3.85 wouldn't hold up," Dixon said. "I really thought that it would take an .80 or an .81 to take the pole tonight. There were a whole lot of .85s, and we just happened to be on the right side of them. We were trying to run a low-.80 as I'm sure a lot of other guys were, but for one reason or another it didn't work. We're going to run in race day-type of conditions tomorrow and work on our setup. I feel very fortunate to be low right now. Unless something crazy happens tomorrow, it might hold up."
Hight posted a 4.082 at 308.35 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang to pace the Funny Car qualifying order. His three other teammates, Ashley Force Hood, Mike Neff and team owner John Force, completed the top four.
"First off, 1, 2, 3, and 4 for our John Force Ford Mustangs -- that's never happened," Hight said. "We've had it lined up before, and someone's messed it up. It could get messed up tomorrow, trust me, but we're 1, 2, 3, and 4 going into tomorrow at the biggest race of the year, that's an accomplishment. It's still not over yet because they're calling for some clouds tomorrow, and if we have cloud cover, NHRA's done a great job on this racetrack and there's going to be a lot of 4.0s tomorrow. It could even shuffle tomorrow, the top spots."
Edwards clocked a 6.581 at 209.01 in his ART/Young Life Pontiac GXP in Pro Stock.
"This morning's run, condition-wise, was better; tonight was a little more humid," Edwards said. "We made another great run this morning, but then we had a misfortune with the engine and changed it. We were still low of the round, but it wasn't quite what we wanted. We're still real confident. These engines are all so close. It's disheartening to break an engine because it's so expensive, but there's no worry about this engine. It's the one I won with in Seattle. It won't be a late night for us, but we do have the broken motor on the way back to the shop and a new motor on the way here. We'll have it by tomorrow; we will be prepared, and I think in the morning, that will be the session. Whatever you can do, you better do it then."
Arana led Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.936 at 191.89 on his Lucas Oil Buell.