Andrew Hines went to extraordinary lengths to earn a spot in the Denso 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle club but was forced to settle for a new elapsed time record of 6.720 seconds and the pole position for the 43rd time in his career. Hines shut off early during Friday’s second qualifying run so that he’d be the first rider out on Saturday morning, when conditions were at a premium. That plan almost worked when he recorded a 199.94 mph top speed, just missing the 200-mph mark. A few hours later, Hines reset his own record, which has stood since the 2012 season.
Qualifying ended with Harley riders Hines and Eddie Krawiec in the top two spots and reigning world champ Matt Smith is third with a 6.751 run. The bad news for Smith is that his wife and teammate, Angie, finished qualifying in the No. 14 spot which means they will meet in round one. The Smith’s last raced at the season-ending Auto Club Finals a year ago.
Of the eight female riders that attempted to qualify in Gainesville, five of them made the competitive field including three-time champion Angelle Sampey, who impressed in her debut with the Vance & Hines Harley team. Sampey is joined in the field by Angie Smith, Kelly Clontz, Karen Stoffer, and Melissa Surber.
First round pairings (lane choice first): Andrew Hines vs. Cory Reed; Eddie Krawiec vs. Scotty Pollacheck; Matt Smith vs. Angie Smith; Hector Arana Jr. vs. Kelly Clontz; Ryan Oehler vs. Karen Stoffer; Angelle Sampey vs. Joey Gladstone; Jimmy Underdahl vs. Melissa Surber; Jerry Savoie vs. Hector Arana Sr.
Qualifying order after Q4:
|4||Hector Arana Jr||6.784|