Andrew Hines won two of the first three Pro Stock Motorcycle races to open the season after a 16-race drought in 2018. His teammate, Eddie Krawiec, did most of the winning in 2017 and 2018 while winning a championship in the former and finishing second in the latter. Now, it appears from the early going, it’s Hines’ time to shine.
“My motorcycle has been phenomenal all season long, which is quite a departure from the motorcycle I had been riding the past few years,” said Hines. “Unbeknownst to me, it had been throwing away a few hundredths here and there all the way down the race track.”
The two riders couldn’t be more different in their overall demeanor and their riding style. They’re both extremely analytical when it comes to their motorcycles, even if they display it in different ways, and are very, very good. Hines’ is currently the beneficiary of a great motorcycle thanks to some chassis work done to his Harley-Davidson Street Rod over the offseason – that showed up on his run that got him to a provisional pole Friday.
“The starting line here is generally pretty good and this weekend it’s really good,” said Hines. “I wasn’t quite ready for it. It split the clutch apart a little more than I wanted it to in that first foot and a half. I was watching the shift light and it was flickering a little bit and that’s kind of how you know it’s going to be good up to the first 330-feet. It’s got to be just on the edge of spinning, can’t have that thing dead hooked all the way through first gear because then you’re just giving away acceleration.”
So, and Hines will probably correct me later: The clutch needs to be slipping (in other words, there needs to be a little slack in the clutch) so there can be some ceiling left in it so it can hook when the transfer needs to be made. That’s been a big step in the right direction for the early-track numbers on Hines’ bike. He’s currently averaging a 1.073 60-foot, which is very competitive for the weighty Harley-Davidsons.
“Some of the chassis changes we’ve made on the latest chassis from Vance & Hines have really made a big difference in our 60-foot times,” said Hines. “It leaves really straight and it’s very consistent and that makes it a lot easier to tune from run to run.”
Those same updates will come to Krawiec’s bike, if things go according to plan, at the next stop on tour: the NHRA Virginia Nationals in Richmond. Krawiec is just .003-second behind Hines following two sessions of qualifying at the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals, so Hines will have to keep working in order to stay ahead of his teammate.