NHRA: With 5 titles already, Andrew Hines just starting to hit stride

(Photos courtesy NHRA)
1 Comment

Winning NHRA championships is becoming old hat for such a young guy like Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Andrew Hines.

At 32, Hines is the first racer in NHRA history to compile five championships in any pro class at such a young age.

He won his first PSM title at the age of 21 (2004) and followed that up with additional crowns in 2005, 2006, 2014 and a little over a week ago earned his fifth crown in the season-ending AAA Finals at AAA Raceway in Pomona, California.

Hines, who passed No. 2-ranked Angelle Sampey on the PSM all-time wins list with his 42nd career victory at Pomona, has come a long way in a relatively short period of time on his Screaming Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley Davidson.

“In the beginning of my career, I came in really as a true, true rookie,” Hines said on a recent NHRA media teleconference. “My first year in 2002, I think I made eight full runs on a Pro Stock Motorcycle before I went to Denver my first season. I ran that half a year there in 2002 on the Suzuki, and Harley decided they wanted a two-bike team in 2003, so I was still in the learning phases of that.”

Hines finished seventh in his first season with Harley and second overall season in PSM in 2003.

Then came 2004.

Andrew Hines
Andrew Hines

“After (2003) it was like a landslide, you know?” Hines said. “We had three championships come in a row, real easy. I shouldn’t say really easy (but) really quick. We won some good races there through those years and just had consistency back then, too.

“I look back on it now and there’s a lot of stuff that I was doing wrong back then, not focusing on the tree, focusing on who I was racing in the other lane and doing things like that, giving away rounds on red lights. We had a few mishaps with race engines back then, obviously with growing pains.

“So those three championships, I was young, and I still say I was naive back then, because I didn’t really know any better. I won a championship, won a second one, won a third one and was like, hey, what’s going on here? This is happening really fast!”

Hines almost earned a fourth straight title in 2007, but one mistake cost him another championship.

“’07 was the first year of the countdown format. … I entered Las Vegas as the number one seed and went to Las Vegas and won that event, and I thought I was looking pretty good again,” Hines said. “I had about a 40-point lead when I got to (the season finale in) Pomona.

“I lost my focus and I threw that race way on a red light; I believe it was second round. I will never forget that. I turned the throttle and rolled backwards out of the beams. It wasn’t because I let the clutch go early, it was because I wasn’t doing any proper procedures on the starting line, and I backed out of the stage lane.

“That was tough, and ultimately that cost me a championship, because had I gone probably one more round, I might have been able it take out the guy that won the race.”

Coming up short in 2007 was devastating to Hines. He lost the ability to win championships. Call it an edge or advantage, but whatever it was, Hines no longer had it.

And he didn’t get it back for seven more years, finally earning his fourth crown in 2014.

“I just got in a funk after that (2007),” Hines said. “I was still able to win races but, man, at the end of the year I would start getting that pressure on me, and I would crumble.

“In 2010, L.E. (Tonglet) and I were battling for a championship, going to almost every final together in the (Countdown to the Championship) and same thing in Pomona, I messed up and had another red light, so I didn’t learn from my past experience on that one.

“But this year I brought the mentality back. I did the same thing last year (when he won his first championship since 2006), brought the mentality back that I’ve got to forget about what people can say or people want to think. I’ve got to go out there and prove I can win rounds, and that’s going to ultimately lead to winning races, and hopefully championships.

“So the pressure from those situations, I learned from that and converted that into a positive focus for me and it worked out great last year and this year, and I was able to push through those hard situations and figure out how to get my team at getting another Wally (race-winning trophy) on Sunday.”

Given his young age, there’s likely a lot more races and championships to win in Hines’ future. But he also envisions a day where he may go from two wheels in PSM to racing upon four wheels in Pro Stock.

“Right now I’m loving what I do, I grew up around motorcycle drag racing and always a fan of drag racing in general,” he said. “Not a lot of people know, but I hadn’t really intended to riding a motorcycle. We were going to go down the Pro Stock Truck route years ago, and we were really, really close and unfortunately, that class was cancelled.

“So back to motorcycles, because we had a bunch of parts laying around the shop. So like I said, I have the passion for four wheels, just got to find the right opportunity, I guess.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s