Photos courtesy NHRA)

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

Leave a comment

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:

330-AndrewHines-Monday-Indy

2016_andrew_hines-1

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

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
3 Comments

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.