This hot-weather thing isn’t so bad, at least if you’re NHRA Fuel Throttle Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Andrew Hines.
For the second straight week Hines battled extreme temperatures, but he continued to thrive in the heat, rolling to the PSM win at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Summit Motorsports Park.
Hines needed a holeshot this time in the finals, and an .043 reaction time made his 6.929 at 193.43 mph stand up against Hector Arana Jr. to give Hines a second straight win and keep the Harley-Davidson team of Hines and Eddie Krawiec undefeated in 2012.
“It seems like I perform better as a rider in these conditions,” Hines said. “It seems like I win a lot of these hot ones. It’s really cool to come out here and have a consistent motorcycle again. Winning back-to-back races is something very special and it’s nice to get on a roll.”
It was a thrilling final between Hines and Arana Jr., who nearly broke through in 2012 thanks to a 6.928 at 191.84, which ended up being the quickest round of the weekend.
But an .073 reaction time was his undoing and Hines was able to hold off Arana Jr. with the fastest pass of the weekend.
“It was a good weekend all-around and we treated this like Joliet and just picked at it,” Hines said. “Conditions changed tremendously and the air dried out a lot. We struggled the first couple rounds, but we learned a lot in the semis against Eddie. We applied it to the final, and it was a heck of a race with Hector Jr.”
The new summer strategy is paying dividends for Hines, who has won two in a row and takes a lion’s share of momentum into the Western swing when conditions will likely be nearly as difficult as they were this weekend in Norwalk.
That didn’t bother Hines at Summit Motorsports Park, where he seemed to be at his best when the track temperatures approached the unbearable.
Slowly creeping up on the bike throughout the hot weekends has been crucial for the team, and it worked perfectly in Chicago and now in Norwalk.
The team re-wired the bike in recent weeks and the performance is noticeable. He picked up a 1.5 mph from the semifinals to the finals and everything seemingly went as planned all weekend.
“It’s great to see changes when we make changes to the motorcycle,” Hines said. “Having the performance pick up steadily throughout the day is really gratifying because we’re able to see the changes we make and feel good about it.
“I think that’s where we’re one step ahead of the competition.”
In picking up his 28th career win, Hines, who has been to the final 47 times, was terrific in every aspect. He went 6.974 and 6.954 in the opening rounds to set up a matchup with his teammate, Krawiec.
There, Hines had a 6.978 at 192.33 to Krawiec’s 6.982 at 192.82 mph, holding off his Harley-Davidson teammate by .008.
That set up a marquee matchup with Arana Jr., who was coming off a holeshot win of his own against his father, Hector Arana.
Hines did his part and his third win in 2012 has him feeling good.
“As long as the motorcycle is running good, I feel confident,” said Hines, who was joined in the winner’s circle by his son, Ryan. “I think I’ve progressed a lot as a rider these past two years.
“I was struggling at the beginning of my career, but I’ve come a long way with coaching from my brother (Matt Hines), Eddie and Terry Vance. I don’t pop up those red lights like I used to.”
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