POMONA, Calif. — official release by Kevin McKenna, National DRAGSTER Senior Editor — NHRA photo —
Andrew Hines became just the second rider in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class to win four NHRA Mello Yello world championships after the opening round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Hines, who entered the season-ending event with a substantial 92-point lead, officially clinched the title by winning the opening round of eliminations.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to write ‘4x’ next to my name,” Hines said. “It was nice to finally get it done, but also to get it done with a win. I didn’t really want to have to be the guy who waited for someone else to lose to clinch it.
“I appreciate everything my Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines team does for me; they make me look good. We struggled at times last year, but last winter, we went to work and turned our V-Rod program around. My brother, Matt [crew chief], and our team never stopped thinking of ways to make our program better. I’m also thankful for a great teammate in Eddie Krawiec. He’s a three-time champion, and he pushes me to better myself.”
“It’s great to get that big trophy and that big check, but the biggest trophies I have are my wife, Tanya, and my kids, Declan and Rion.”
During qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Hines maintained a lead of more than 80 points over Krawiec. Heading into Sunday’s final eliminations, the only way Krawiec could win the title was by winning the race and setting the elapsed time record. In addition, Hines would have to lose in the opening round of eliminations. Once Hines defeated Katie Sullivan, the championship became official.
Hines, who won his last championship in 2006, before the introduction of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, was sterling all season with six wins aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Harley V-Rod. He was particularly impressive during the six-race Countdown with two wins and a runner-up, including a victory at the most recent event, the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas. All told, Hines won 15 of a possible 20 rounds during the Countdown entering the Pomona race.
Hines, the son of recent AMA Hall of Fame inductee Byron Hines, won three straight championships from 2004 to 2006.
In winning his fourth title, he separated himself from a group of three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champions that includes his older brother, Matt; teammate Krawiec; the late John Myers; and Angelle Sampey. Only the late Dave Schultz, who claimed five series championships before his untimely death in 2001, has more championships.
The championship aside, Hines enjoyed one of his finest seasons to date in 2014. Following a rebuilding year in 2013, the Vance & Hines team emerged stronger than ever, and Hines was quick to capitalize. He earned wins in Charlotte, Englishtown, Norwalk, and Denver. As a result, he entered the Countdown as the No. 1 seed in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class and padded his lead with two more wins in Dallas and Las Vegas. Hines was also the low qualifier in Las Vegas and had a 40-9 record in eliminations rounds heading into Pomona.
Hines’ career now includes 38 national event wins, which is good for third place behind Schultz (45) and Sampey (41).