With 47 wins, Andrew Hines is the undisputed leader in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, but prior to this week, just one of those wins had come at his adopted home track, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Hines, the Indy winner back in 2012, added a second win this year after Hector Arana Jr. fouled in the final. Hines would have been tough to beat under any circumstances because he made his best run of the event in the final with a 6.862-second pass at 194.63 mph.

Hines vs. Arana Jr. in the final round at Indy.
Hines vs. Arana Jr. in the final round at Indy.©Motorcyclist

“I usually try to stay calm, but right when we were staging for the final, I thought to myself, ‘This is the final of the U.S. Nationals,’ ” said Hines. “I couldn’t believe I was thinking that. I’m lucky it didn’t come back to bite me. “Lately, I’ve had a good motorcycle, but I have not been qualifying well,” said Hines, who started from the No. 7 spot. “We missed the good qualifying session, and we’ve struggled with our 60-foot times, and that’s something that we’ve worked on a lot lately.”

Number One Qualifier at the 2016 US Nationals, Angelle Sampey.
Number One Qualifier at the 2016 US Nationals, Angelle Sampey.©Motorcyclist

Indy Low Qualifier Angelle Sampey has lost just nine rounds of competition this year, but four of them have come via red-light starts. Sampey's latest foul, which came during a round-two match against Star Racing teammate Cory Reed, was especially maddening, not only because it came at NHRA's biggest event but also because Sampey believed her S&S-powered Buell was the bike to beat at Indy.

Star Racing teammate Cory Reed
Star Racing teammate Cory Reed©Motorcyclist

“I hate it whenever I let my team down, and the only reason I don’t feel a lot worse than I do right now is because I red-lighted against my teammate. Cory has been doing an awesome job lately, and I know that I can’t take him lightly. I didn’t think I pushed it that hard, but it came up red. It’s so frustrating because we had the best bike in the field. The only good thing is that this isn’t the Countdown, so it didn’t affect us in the points. I just need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Jerry Savoie at Indy
After winning the Pro Stock Motorcycle title last year, Savoie appeared to be poised for more Indy success this year when he qualified his White Alligator Suzuki in the No. 2 spot.©Motorcyclist

Winning the U.S. Nationals is hard, and winning the sport’s marquee event in back-to-back years is next to impossible, and no one knows that better than Jerry Savoie. After winning the Pro Stock Motorcycle title last year, Savoie appeared to be poised for more Indy success this year when he qualified his White Alligator Suzuki in the No. 2 spot. He managed to win his round-one battle against Scotty Pollacheck’s Nitro Fish Suzuki, and he cut a perfect light in round two against Andrew Hines, but it wasn’t enough as Hines won a close 6.883 to 6.897 battle.

Savoie (far lane) against Hines in Round 2.
Savoie (far lane) against Hines in Round 2.©Motorcyclist

“I did everything I could do, but I guess it wasn’t enough,” said Savoie. “We thought we had the bike to beat, but we came up a little bit short. I actually thought this was going to be our day because it was a lot more hot and humid today than it had been, and those are the conditions that we thrive in. We love it when it’s hot and smudgy out. The bottom line is that we just didn’t make a good run.”Hines was in the 6.8s throughout eliminations, and he needed to be sharp because his side of the ladder featured a talented group of riders, including rookie Melissa Surber, defending Indy champ Jerry Savoie, LE Tonglet, and Hines’ own teammate, Eddie Krawiec. Hines' toughest opponent was Sonoma winner Tonglet, and he held on to win that round by .007-second.

“It’s brutal out here right now,” Hines said. “The entire field was separated by a tenth of a second, and my side of the ladder was stacked. It was good to get a little revenge on LE; he’s been running really well lately.”

With his latest victory, Hines leaped over teammate Krawiec to take the top spot in the Countdown to the Championship standings.

“That was a big swing,” Hines said. “I really didn’t think I’d catch Eddie because he had such a big lead earlier this year. I’ll take it. You never know when you’re going to need those extra points.”

NHRA Mello Yello Championship Points Standings
1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson (2,110)
2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson (2,080)
3. Angelle Sampey, Buell (2,070)
4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki (2,060)
5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki (2,050)
6. Chip Ellis, Buell (2,040)
7. Hector Arana Jr., Buell (2,030)
8. Hector Arana Sr., Buell (2,020)
9. Matt Smith, Victory (2,010)
10. Cory Reed, Buell (2,000)