Andrew Hines has more than 50 national event wins and five Mello Yello championships and accomplished all sorts of other first in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class including the first six-second run, but he’s never started a season the way he’s kicked off this one. After a winless 2018 campaign, Hines has won five of the first seven races and run his record to a remarkable 21-2 in elimination round after knocking off teammate Eddie Krawic in the Norwalk final. Hines, a previous Norwalk winner in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2014, capped off career win No. 53 with a 6.895 after Krawiec's Harley bogged and slowed to a 6.967.
In qualifying, Hines was a tick behind Krawiec and reigning world champion Matt Smith with a 6.852 that placed him third in the field. His path to the final round included wins against Marc Ingwersen, teammate Angelle Sampey, and Smith. Sampey and Smith have combined to win six world championships and 65 races but Hines was not the least bit fazed. Hines ousted Sampey’s Street Rod with a 6.852 . The loss was the 200th of Sampey’s career, but she maintains a very solid record with 417 round wins since her debut in 1996.
Hines followed his win against Sampey with a consistent 6.864 in the semifinals to beat Smith, who was seeking to go back-to-back after winning the most recent Pro Stock Motorcycle race in Chicago. Smith managed to set the top speed of the event and a Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park track record in the loss with a 198.88 mph run.
Hines has only lost twice this year and both of them could be considered fluke occurances. He suffered an electrical malfunction in the final of the Las Vegas Four-Wide and was unable to stage, and then his bike bogged badly in the opening round of the most recent race in Chicago and he lost to No. 14 qualifier, Andie Rawlings, who had previously never won a round of NHRA competition.
Krawiec normally wouldn't be too upset about losing a final round to his teammate but that was before he lost three-straight finals against Hines this season. Krawiec is 0-for-7 in final rounds since his last win nearly a year ago in Brainerd.
Krawiec opened elimination from the No. 1 spot and appeared to coast his way into career final No. 82 with wins against Michael Ray, John Hall, and Scotty Pollacheck. Krawiec was also consistent with a pair of 6.86-second runs on race day. Krawiec and Hines have now raced 30 times in finals with Hines holding a 16-14 edge over his teammate. Despite the loss, Krawiec remains solidly in the No. 2 spot in the points battle.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE CHAMPION ANDREW HINES: “You never know how these races are going to work out but today we had different conditions than the rest of the weekend and my bike seems to work well in warm conditions. It seems to go down the track when others might not. Last night, I had a request from [round one opponent] Marc Ingwersen to come over and help him with his ECU, not so much to make his bike quicker but to see what they could do easier. I went and helped him and then found out we had to run each other and I thought that might not be so forward thinking.
“I also ran against Angelle [Sampey] and that’s the first time we’ve run as teamamtes. Rolling up there it was like a time trial run. She went out and hit the cones and I’ll take responsibility for that because I set up her rear-axle. Then I ran against Matt Smith, who has been my biggest nemesis, and then Eddie in the final. We’ve just been making all the right tuning calls, and my bike has responded well. It’s been a great start to the season and we just need to find a way to keep it going.”