SONOMA, Calif. (July 30th, 2016) – Andrew Hines is fresh off of a win at the Pro Bike Battle today and sitting in the number 3 spot for Sunday’s national event.
Although assured of his and his bike’s capabilities, Hines is still searching for more. “It gives me some good confidence going into tomorrow. My qualifying position probably could’ve been better than 3rd but the run that set the field this morning, I didn’t make the cleanest run. But I had a heck of a bike for the second round in the [Pro Bike Battle] final. So I know that going into tomorrow I feel pretty confident and had the quickest bike of the last session and decent reaction times all weekend.”
Andrew thinks that beating his teammate for the 2016 Pro Bike Battle title aids in taking the pressure off just a little for the rest of the weekend. “Making good clean runs and putting up competitive times really helps. I had to improve that session to move up so we weren’t on the same side of the [qualifying] ladder. I had to go quicker than 7.780 and I went 7.775, so it was just enough. The thing with the battle is that second elimination round didn’t count towards qualifying and I went 7.772. I knew I had the bike to do it, it was just a matter of repeating that same run for the final round and it did. With the Harley-Davidson guys and all my crew here at Vance & Hines, I know they can give me a flawless motorcycle. It’s going to go down to the track. It’s just making sure I hit all my shift points and leave the starting line clean.”
“Everything’s going well, I don’t say we script it every weekend, we just hope for it. Our job is just to come here and win. Sometimes it just takes us a while to hone in on the tuneup and we did that today and got both bikes running good speed and good elapsed times. Tomorrow’s another day and something could change and throw our tuneup off but we’re going to stay on top of it and bring the Harley’s hopefully home again.”
Hines doesn’t fret about the altitude change going from Denver to Sonoma, as he views every track on the series as having its own set of challenges. “We have to treat each racetrack totally different but coming back to sea level we have so much history running at sea level tracks, it’s really no big deal. We can just start off with some [data] maps from earlier in the year and tweak on it a little. Also we look at the weather conditions, see the water in the air, the barometric pressure and make the appropriate changes. We just put everything back to square one and start from there and tune on them.
However, going from a mile above the sea to just 15 feet above does have its noticeable differences. “The biggest thing is the amount of power we have leaving the starting line. We’ve really got to change how it leaves the starting line versus Denver to Sonoma. You can’t have enough power on the starting line in Denver and here you have way too much because of the air. But the track is killer. Sonoma Raceway does a good job and they aways have a killer track all the way down the surface. So we can take advantage of that and put the power to the ground.”
Final Eliminations for the NHRA Mello Yello Toyota Sonoma Nationals begin Sunday at 11:00 A.M. PST. Live TV coverage begins at 1:00 P.M. PST on Fox.