Now that Vance & Hines has become the premier team for Suzuki’s official re-entry to the NHRA’s Camping World Drag Racing Series’ Pro Stock Motorcycle wars, the team has decided to do a bit of shuffling of the decks to make their program even stronger, now that they’ve had to cede championships to Matt Smith Racing and its owner/driver Matt Smith.
In 2021, V&H produced a single Hayabusa four-valve Suzuki for three-time champion Angelle Sampey and tasked her with the development of both the motorcycle and its engine. She completed the season in second place, lagging only Smith in the Camping World Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. And she won twice since returning to NHRA racing, riding a Mission Foods-sponsored Suzuki. All told, she owns 45 wins in 78 final rounds.
This year, after developing a Vance & Hines Buell during the 2021 season, four-time champion Eddie Krawiec will join Sampey aboard a four-valve Hayabusa, hoping to improve on his fourth-place result in the standings last season.
The biggest change at this highly-successful motorcycle team is that Andrew Hines, after securing six NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championships, will be the crew chief and tuner for both Sampey and Krawiec in 2022, stepping away from riding. Is it permanent for the 56-time winner who has topped 202-mph? Time will tell, but Hines has been doing quite a bit of the tuning on Sampey’s motorcycle.
The son of Vance & Hines co-founder Byron Hines, Drew has raced and worked full-time for the team for the past 22 years and grew up at tracks all around the country. “Being crew chief will be a clear advantage for the team and me,” Hines acknowledged. “My experience on the seat for two decades, along with great feedback from our riders, will factor into how I make tuning decisions for the team.
“I’m excited to be 100 percent focused on the bikes, on Angelle and Eddie,” he continued. “Winning the championship is our goal, and this new approach makes us a stronger team.” Last month Suzuki and Vance & Hines announced the team would be the brand’s factory squad in PSM, hoping to add to their seven NHRA PSM championships.
“Andrew’s move to crew chief is special for Byron and for me,” said Terry Vance, V&H co-founder, who still comes to many races in support of the team. “We’ve watched Drew grow up in the sport, become a champion, and now take the lead role on the team. He’s got the right combination of skills to excel at this position for us.”
NHRA’s Camping World Drag Racing Series begins its 71st season next weekend on the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona drag strip. The Pro Stock Motorcycle, as is its tradition, starts its 15-race campaign next month when the series encamps in Gainesville for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, scheduled March 10-13.
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