NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, March 27-29, 2015 at zMAX Dragway, Concord, NC, USA
Hines takes 4-Wide on a Holeshot
story and photos by Tim Hailey with reports from NHRA and others
Andrew Hines (lane 2) leads the field with an .036 light in the 4-Wide PSM final. Scotty Pollacheck (lane 4) was -.003 red and Eddie Krawiec (near lane) had an .047 bulb. Hector Arana Jr was last off the line with an .068, wasting low ET of 6.804 (better than Hines by .001) and a stunning 199.88 mph top speed.
Reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Andrew Hines claimed his first win of the season and 39th of his career at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. Hines beat teammate Eddie Krawiec, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr. in the final, claiming his second Four-Wide victory and his fourth at this track with a winning performance of 6.805 at 196.30 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. "We got on the dyno last week and tried a few things," Hines said. "We followed through and my V-Rod got us to the final round. We just went out and did what our team does best.”
Hines won his first round quad over Mike Berry, Brian Pretzel and Karen Stoffer, and also finished first in the second round quad by outrunning Pollacheck, Berry and Matt Smith.
I told Andrew that I was shocked to see the notoriously secretive Vance & Hines open up for a long, technical article on their V-Rod motors in "Race Engine Tech" magazine. "A lot of people were," said Andrew.
"I know I'd never see a list of what you all didn't reveal for the article," I said. "But I'd like to know how long that list is."
"Very long," he said.
"So basically, you all just revealed what your motor shares with the S&S motor."
"That's about right. We obviously weren't sharing cam dimensions, specifics about pistons, things like that."
Keeping an eye on the big MPH that Hector Jr. was running, Hines put his Screaming Eagle team to finding some MPH of their own. "We went back to some things we'd done in the past," said Andrew. "We tried some of them on Eddie's bike and ALOT of them on mine....that's when we went the 196."
H2 prepares for the 4-Wide final MORE PHOTOS
It was a bittersweet weekend for Hector Jr, qualifying #1, setting the MPH record with an oh-so-close-to-200 199.88, but losing the final on a holeshot. "Today was definitely very exciting," Arana Jr said. "We ran well but we spun the tire a lot more in E1 than we thought we were going to based on qualifying. We were good, then we just had some issues with our clutch and it just all of a sudden started going away from us, causing us to blow the tire off. So we made some changes for E2 and we went in the right direction.
"We were still bogging though and went a little too aggressive, so we had to back it off for the final round. We thought we had backed it off enough but evidently we didn't because it still bogged.
"Overall we had a great weekend as far as performance goes. We qualified No. 1 and then we ran 199.26 mph to tie the national speed record. I was able to then turn around and run 199.88 mph to break the record and bring the record home for us. I was so close to 200 mph, but it's definitely an awesome feeling to be that close and to know that it's there.
"This was definitely a really good rebound from Gainesville for me. The whole team is excited with all the potential we clearly have. I'm sure we turned a lot of heads this weekend, and we look forward to what will come for the rest of the year."
Krawiec moved into the series lead with his second consecutive runner-up finish of the season and Hines is second overall in the series standings.
3X champ Eddie Krawiec left Charlotte with the early points lead. MORE PHOTOS
Scotty Pollacheck's weekend was dynamite MORE PHOTOS
A strong outing by Chaz Kennedy ended in round 2. MORE PHOTOS
Ditto for Mike Berry MORE PHOTOS
Freddie Camarena made a field that fellow Suzuki veterans Steve Johnson and Jerry Savoie failed to. Camarena had the ET to advance to round 2 on raceday, but failed to do so due to a .210 blunderbulb. "I'm not used to having to cut a light when it counts!" joked Camarena, who is often a spectator on Sundays.
Wooly headed Ken "Big" Johnson giving me a leary look. MORE PHOTOS
It's not Clownex.......Shawn Gann on the Clonex Buell MORE PHOTOS
Antron Brown and crew celebrate the former PSM star's Top Fuel win. MORE PHOTOS
In Top Fuel, Antron Brown claimed his second consecutive victory at this event when he defeated Steve Torrence, Richie Crampton and Clay Millican. Brown crossed the finish line first in his Matco Tools dragster with a 3.749 at 319.90, to take his 48th career victory. By joining Beckman in the winner’s circle the duo gave team owner Don Schumacher his 44th multiple-title event. "It's been an incredible run at this race," Brown said. "You have to dig deep to win races like this. We've had a long road with a new combination. We've had some gremlins, but in the final we laid down the gauntlet to bring the win home. It was also huge for the bossman [Don Schumacher] to double up. I hope we can keep that streak going for him."
Terry Chandler and Antron Brown in the winners circle. MORE PHOTOS
The Top Fuel final with Clay Millican in the near lane. MORE PHOTOS
Brown won his opening round quad against Dave Connolly, J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon with a 3.771 second run and then earned a wild pedal-fest victory in the second round over Torrence, Doug Kalitta and Connolly. Antron moved into the series points lead with the victory, ahead of reigning world champ Tony Schumacher and third-place Langdon.
Funny Car winner Jack Beckman boils 'em. MORE PHOTOS
Jack Beckman powered his 10,000-horsepower Infinite Hero Funny Car to the quickest run of the weekend to take the victory over rival finalists Del Worsham, Chad Head and Tommy "Tank Slapper" Johnson Jr. Beckman pulled away from the pack with a final round performance of 3.983 seconds at 308.78 mph Beckman’s last victory came in St. Louis in 2012. It was his second win at this event, third win at this track and 16th career victory.
"I can't guarantee we'll win another race this season,” said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion. “I think we will, but I can't say for 100 percent. But, I know for sure we'll be better than we were today. Jimmy (Prock, crew chief) and the team will be even better the rest of the year because they're getting better every race. All the little things are coming together and now the car is doing what they hope it will.”
Beckman moved to seventh in points with the win. He also won in earlier quads, beating Ron Capps, Johnson Jr. and Paul Lee in the opening round and then defeating Johnson Jr., John Force and Robert Hight in the second round.
Worsham moved into the series points lead with his second runner-up finish of the season.
Pro Stock Car final 4-Wide style. MORE PHOTOS
Veteran driver Larry Morgan ended a 120-race drought from winner’s circle in Pro Stock Car when he held off Greg Anderson, Vincent Nobile and Jonathan Gray in the final round. He drove his FireAde Chevy Camaro to a career-best 6.464 at 214.52 in the winning effort. "I knew I was still good enough to let the clutch out,” said Morgan of his 11th career victory, and his first win since Las Vegas in October of 2009. “I knew I could still drive. I just needed to get the right financial backing and hook up with Johnny Gray to get some horsepower. Jerry Haas built me a new car in 30 days, and a lot of other great people helped me get to the winner's circle today. I've surrounded myself with good people, and that's how you win. It wasn't just one guy who won today, it was a team effort."
Morgan advanced with a second place finish in the opening round against Jason Line, Rodger Brogdon and John Gaydosh. He finished first in the second round match against Vincent Nobile, defending event winner Jimmy Alund and Line.
Line moved into the points lead and Morgan jumped from ninth to seventh in the standings with his win.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues April 10-12 with the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada.
Part of the great crowd that came out to zMax
EARLIER: Arana Jr, Krawiec, Hines & Pollacheck in 4 Wide Final
Andrew Hines (near) leads Scotty Pollacheck (lane 3), Mike Berry (lane 4) and Matt Smith (lane 2) at 100 feet in E2
EARLIER: 4 Wide Round 1
EARLIER: Arana Jr #1, Teasley Out at zMax
Hector Arana Jr. sat out the round 1 match-up with his dad at Gainesville after the NHRA backed out of their initial approval of his taping off the gaps in the new EBR bodywork. Now back with his old Buell body, H2 qualified #1 with a track record 6.794.
With one shot to make the show, with a team that hasn't actually raced in a year and a half, Jeremy Teasley launches the bike. Then bike spun through 1 and 2 to a 1.11 60 foot, then bogged when shifted to third. The seemingly bad pass turned out to be a 6.98, showing that Junior Pippin's motors make good power. That placed Teasley in the field at 11th.....for about 2 minutes. At the end of the round he was 17th and out. "I don't think I like this place," Teasley said of zMax, the site of his only other attempt at an NHRA race. "I was 17th that time too."
For better or worse, 4 wide racing and qualifying gives you strange image opportunities like this one with Eddie Krawiec (near), Shawn Gann (middle), and LE Tonglet (far)
Also not qualified was Angie Smith, who seems to find her Victory Gunner a handfull
Angelle Sampey's going quick on the Star Racing Buell despite her seemingly finding her bike a handful as well. She qualified third with a 6.853 at a relatively slow 187 mph in Q1, then punted the blocks after hanging off the left side of the bike in Q2.
I got to spned some candid, quality time with Angelle and team owner George Bryce druing Friday's rain. Always sincere, Angelle discussed quite openly how postively frightened she was to climb back on the bike when GB3 called her last fall. After encouragement from her family, Angelle said 'Yes' but really had to deal with some serious first pass jitters.
Would be great to see this 3X champion pair get the sponsorship they deserve (and need) to run the whole season.
Former 2 stroke pilot Brian Pretzel had a solid outing on a weekend when many didn't, qualifying 10th on a former Shawn Gann ride
Pippin and Teasley before the clutch cable broke and ruined his first qualifying attempt
Pippin and Teasley's pre-race team report