Photos courtesy NHRA)

2016 NHRA season in review: Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Andrew Hines

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Over the next three-plus weeks, MotorSportsTalk will feature season-ending reviews of the top drivers of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Each day, we’ll have one in-depth review of a driver that finished in the top-five in each of the four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as a compendium of select other drivers that did not finish in the top-five.

The list of drivers we’ve already posted is below. Today, we feature five-time champion Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Andrew Hines:

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Driver: Andrew Hines

Age: 33

Hometown: Villa Park, California

Team: Vance & Hines Racing

Sponsor/motorcycle: Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson

Crew chief: Matt Hines

2016 season finish: Third in Pro Stock Motorcycle

2016 season statistics: 16 races, 5 wins, 4 runner-up, 2 semifinals, 4 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier two times. Round-by-round record: 39 wins, 11 losses.

Career statistics: 230 races, 47 wins, 30 runner-up, 47 semifinals, 55 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier 38 times. Round-by-round record: 424 wins, 182 losses. One DNQ. Five-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015.

What went right in 2016: Hines had a championship season – but without the championship. He earned five wins in 16 starts and reached the final round 9 times. Had strong battle with teammate Eddie Krawiec (finished second) and surprise 2016 champion Jerry Savoie.

What went wrong in 2016: Hines was in the championship battle until the final race, but when he lost in the quarterfinals in the season-ending event at Pomona, that ended his title hopes, finishing a mere 31 points behind champion Savoie. … Not a lot went wrong for Hines overall, but he seemed to struggle at times during the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs, including second-round losses at St. Louis, Dallas and Pomona, and lost in the finals at Charlotte and Las Vegas (recording a rare red-light foul at the starting line). Had he been able to turn one of those losses into a win, he might have been able to overtake Savoie.

What to look for in 2017: Hines is one of the toughest competitors in Pro Stock Motorcycle. To come so close to yet another championship in 2016 will definitely be a rallying cry and incentive for him and his team in 2017. Don’t be surprised if Hines gets off to a big start – and carries it on all the way to a sixth championship.

Season reviews already posted:

— Antron Brown (12/12)

— Ron Capps (12/13)

— Jason Line (12/14)

Jerry Savoie (12/15)

Doug Kalitta (12/16)

Tommy Johnson Jr. (12/17)

Greg Anderson (12/18)

Eddie Krawiec (12/19)

Steve Torrence (12/20)

— Matt Hagan (12/21)

— Shane Gray (12/22)

— Andrew Hines (12/23)

— J.R. Todd (12/24)

— John Force (12/25)

— Bo Butner (12/26)

— Angelle Sampey (12/27)

Follow @JerryBonkowski

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

Follow@KyleMLavigne