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NHRA: Q&A with 3-Time Bike Champion Matt Hines

31 May 2000

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
A winner last Sunday in Dallas, Matt Hines, 28, has captured an unprecedented three consecutive NHRA Winston Drag Racing Pro Stock Motorcycle championships on his Eagle One Suzuki fielded by the famed Vance & Hines team. Hines' total of 24 career national wins includes victory in the Prestone Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, outside Chicago, in both 1998 and 1999. That's the next event on the NHRA calendar, this weekend (June 2-4), and Hines currently is second in the point standings. His win over Angelle Seeling at Dallas moved him to within 59 points of her top total.

Q. You won the first two events at Route 66 Raceway. Do you have a special set-up for the Eagle One Suzuki for that track?

A. Chicago is a great facility. The track is awesome. The one thing is, the wind changes there constantly, and you have to be on top of that. That's kind of fallen into my hands.

Q. Do you feel pressure in trying for four consecutive championships?

A. It definitely puts a little more pressure on me, but I haven't noticed a tremendous amount of difference between going for my fourth championship and going for my second. I just try to relax and stay focused on racing and not get too involved in all the hype. My focus is doing the best I can when I pop the clutch on the Eagle One Suzuki and go down the track. I like to hang out with the rest of the guys. If I can just blend in with the rest of the guys on the team, hanging out with them after a long day of racing, it helps.

Q. After three titles, what are your goals in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class?

A. I want to try to be the first one in the six-second range and maybe 200 (mph) is right around the corner. We'll have to see what happens after that.

Q. Would you consider trying another series?

A. I love drag racing. I don't see myself going anywhere else. Since I started racing, I've always looked at it as a year-to-year deal.

Q. Your rivalry with Angelle Seeling has been rather intense the last couple of years. Is it still that way?

A. The fans love her for her, and the fans like me because I've got a fast bike with the Eagle One Suzuki. Right now, there's not a huge rivalry going. That has seen its days and we've kind of put that behind us. (Note: Seeling finished eight points behind Hines last year, the closest in Pro Stock Motorcycle history.)

NOTE: Five-time Top Fuel champion Joe Amato is scheduled to be interviewed on ESPN2's "RPM2Night" Thursday, June 1. Check local listing for broadcast time. Amato, driver of the DynoMax/Valvoline/Keystone Automotive dragster, will be interviewed from the ESPN SportsZone restaurant in Chicago. Amato is now fifth in the Top Fuel standings.

Text provided by Michael Knight

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