Not many racers are as eager to test their abilities at challenging Bandimere Speedway more than six-time world champion Andrew Hines. It’s brought out the best in the Pro Stock Motorcycle star and he’ll look to pick up his sixth career victory in Denver at this weekend’s Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil.
The victory would also be the first of the season for Hines on his Vance & Hines Buell, and would mark a great moment in the career for the rider who class the most wins in class history. Racing at more than 5,800 feet isn’t easy and makes for one of the most difficult tracks to navigate in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. But if there’s going to be a breakthrough anywhere in 2021 on a brand-new bike, Hines figures it might as well be in Denver, where he’s racked up more victories than anyone in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
“It’s such a unique place and cool facility with it being cut out of the side of a mountain,” said Hines, who has 56 career wins. “All the time, you’re getting new fans going to that event. There’s such a great history at the track and the Bandimere family put on such a great race. There’s a long list of what we do to get ready for this race and we try to do things differently from everyone else. It’s such an anomaly race, but we try to not get through it, but to conquer it.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2019 event in Denver. This year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including final eliminations coverage starting at 4 p.m. (ET) on FS1 on Sunday, July 18. It is the eighth race of the 2021 NHRA season and the sixth race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Hines and teammate Eddie Krawiec both missed the first two races getting their new bikes ready and there’s plenty still to work out on both motorcycles.
Hines has displayed plenty of speed, making his first career 200-mph runs, but he has yet to make it out of the second round in three starts. It’s hardly panic time, but the veteran standout is ready to get things moving in the right direction at a quicker pace.
“Our engines have been good, but to be brutally honest, Eddie (Krawiec, teammate) and I are way off in our 60-foot times,” Hines said. “We’re not stellar there, historically, but we’re really struggling right now. It’s hard to turn on win lights when you’re giving it up in the first 100 feet. We’re working on that and Denver is kind of the equalizer, so it might play to our advantage.”
Hines hopes that’s the case as he tries to break into the top 10 in points in a loaded Pro Stock Motorcycle class. It won’t be easy, but he’s always performed well at Denver over the years. The bad news — at least when it comes to winning at Bandimere Speedway — is Krawiec has four wins at the facility and is also comfortable on Thunder Mountain. Hines also knows he can’t count out the likes of points leader and defending world champ Matt Smith, Ryan Oeheler, Scotty Pollacheck, Angelle Sampey and Steve Johnson, who won in Charlotte.
“This class is so tough, you never know who’s going to win,” Hines said. “There’s 10-12 or so good bikes that can win any weekend. With all the changes you have to make in Denver and our engine not the same it was two years ago, it might take a bit to get everything dialed in. It’s also a rider’s track. It’s demanding on the rider style. You have to be smooth and natural on the bike and get every thousandth of a second you can.”
Torrence will look to keep rolling in Top Fuel. The points leader and defending three-time world champ has enjoyed recent success in Denver and he’ll look to keep that going against the likes of Brittany Force, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown, Clay Millican, Doug Kalitta, Alex Laughlin, who is making his Top Fuel debut in Denver, and Shawn Langdon.
Cruz Pedregon is riding high after winning in Norwalk and he boasts the same team, led by crew chief John Collins, that won in Denver in 2019. Trying to prevent back-to-back wins for Pedregon is a star-studded lineup featuring points leader Bob Tasca III, John Force, defending world champ Matt Hagan, Robert Hight, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson and J.R. Todd.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service makes its first-ever appearance at Bandimere Speedway, marking what should be a thrilling Denver debut for the action-packed class. It is also the fifth appearance of the 2021 season. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport, as well as the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown class.
As always, fans are granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 8:00 p.m. MT on Friday, July 16 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 17 at 4:45 and 8:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 18. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations action at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
To purchase general admission or reserved seats, call 800-664-UWIN (8946). Tickets also are available online at www.bandimere.com
. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)