NEW CASTLE, Ind.— Aug. 11, 2013— This is often the time of the year when drivers start to slow down as their equipment begins to feel the wear and tear from a long season. That’s not the case for Tracy Hines, who continues to rack up solid finishes and contend for wins across all three USAC national series. The past week was another busy week for the veteran driver with a trio of races and just as in the prior two weeks, he finished among the top-10 in each and every race to extend his streak of top-10 runs to nine straight races.
Hines wrapped up a three-race swing through Iowa, Indiana and Illinois, on Saturday, Aug. 10 with the Honda USAC National Midget Series Pavement Championship at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Ill., with an eighth-place finish. He opened the night as the fourth-quickest driver in qualifying at the high-banked one-third-mile paved oval in Northern Illinois. The native of New Castle, Ind., finished fourth in the second 12-lap Scramble, which put him on the outside of the fourth row for the 50-lap Battle on the Border 2 event in the Parker Machinery/Powered by Toyota Spike.
“Grundy County (Speedway) is a tricky track,” said Hines. “You get around there in a hurry and the laps really click by pretty quick. We just missed it a bit on the set-up for the feature and that was unfortunate. We have one more asphalt midget race this year and we’ll give it everything we got in that one and see if we can come out with both a win and a championship.”
In the Honda USAC National Midget Series event at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind., on Friday, Aug. 9, Hines finished sixth. He kicked-off the night as the third-fastest qualifier at the half-mile paved overall in Northwest Indiana. Hines finished third in the first 12-lap Scramble, which put him on the inside of the third row to start the 30-lap main event. The Battle on the Border event was the first Honda USAC National Midget Series event at Illiana since 2001 and was co-sanctioned with the Short Track Auto Racing Series (STARS). A pair of cautions slowed the 30-lap main event.
“Illiana is a big half-mile and cars can get spread out pretty quick there,” Hines said. “After the last few midget races and being in contention each and every night it was a little disappointing to not be as far up there. We qualified well, but just weren’t able to make up much ground in the Scramble and Feature. We’ll mark down what we learned in our notebook and hopefully be a little better next time we go up there.”
Hines began the three-race stretch at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa for the running of the Casey’s General Store Ultimate Challenge on Tuesday, Aug. 6, finishing seventh aboard the Hansen’s Welding Inc. DRC. The feature event was cut from 30 laps to 20 due to rain, and also the set of three qualifying races that were scheduled were done away with in the interest of time and beating the rain. Hines opened the night by winning the second eight-lap heat race. By way of the Ultimate Challenge format, drivers drew for heat race starting positions rather than qualifying.
“It was definitely a challenging night all around with the weather,” said Hines. “You never want a race to be cut short, but it’s better than having the race entirely fall to rain. With the track conditions the way they were it was a challenge to make up much ground in the main event. You’ll have nights like that sometimes and you just have to make the most of them and move on and that’s what we did. We were still able to come away with a halfway decent finish.”
Hines is currently tied for the lead in the Honda USAC National Midget Pavement Championship standings. He has a pair of wins this season along with seven top-10 finishes in seven starts. In the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Series points, the 2002 series titlist is eighth in points. He has two victories on the year to go along with eight top-10 finishes.
The veteran driver returns to action next weekend with the Traxxas USAC Silver Crown Series at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Saturday, Aug. 17 for the running of the Tony Bettenhausen 100. He’ll then head to Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisc., for the Miller Lite Cornfest on Sunday, Aug. 18, which will be tri-sanctioned by the Honda USAC National Midget Series, POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and the Stark Automotive Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midget Series.
Tracy Hines Racing would like to thank: Hansen’s Welding Inc., Parker Machinery, Powered by Toyota, Motor City Auto Transport, Turbines, Inc., Afco Racing Products, Daum Crop Insurance, Schoenfeld Headers, Allstar Performance, Kenny’s Components, Race Bumpers and Bell Racing.
For more information on Tracy Hines Racing, visit http://www.tracyhinesracing.com. Follow Tracy on Twitter atwww.Twitter.com/TracyHinesRacin.