New Castle, Ind.—Feb. 19, 2013— It's the goal of every driver to start the season on a strong note and with some consistency. Tracy Hines did exactly that as he finished third in the 2013 season-opener for the USAC National Midget Series and their pavement championship at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, and wrapped up the two-night event with an eighth-place performance.
Hines, piloting the Parker Machinery/Powered by Toyota Spike, began the first night at New Smyrna on Sunday, Feb. 17, by turning the ninth-fastest lap in time trials. He lined up third in the first of two scrambles and finished fourth. Each of the two scrambles were inverted by six, with the finishing positions of those 12-lap contests determining the starting lineup for the main event. Hines lined up on the inside of the fourth row for the 30-lap A-Feature at the high-banked, half-mile. The native of New Castle, Ind., fell back a couple of spots at the beginning of the main event before making a late race charge to take the third and final spot on the podium from Tanner Swanson.
“The car really came out late in the race,” shared Hines on Sunday night. “For the first race of the season to come home third was a pretty good result. We were trying a few things and learned a number of things that will help us down the road. It gives us a good baseline for Monday night and to gain some momentum for the rest of the year.”On Monday night, Hines was fifth-fastest in time trials, which put him on the outside of the second row in the first 12-lap scramble. Hines started fourth and finished fifth in the scramble, which was delayed by nearly an hour-and-a-half, due to the track lights going out. The veteran driver lined up seventh for the 30-lap A-Feature and came home eighth to earn his second straight top-10 finish to open the season.
“We were fast at the beginning of the night and just couldn’t quite make up any ground in the heat race or the main event,” he noted. “We are getting closer to where we need to be. The next pavement midget race is at IRP (Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis) where we always do well, so I’m definitely looking forward to that one.”
Hines, who is currently seventh in the USAC National Midget Series Pavement Championship standings, just three points out of fifth and 20 markers out of the lead, will remain in Florida this week to kick-off the 2013 USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series season at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. Three nights of racing are scheduled, beginning on Thursday, Feb. 21 and running through Saturday, Feb. 23. The next race for the USAC National Midget Series will be the Dirt Championship opener at Kokomo Speedway in Indiana on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13.
“We have a bit of time until the next midget race and quite a while until the next pavement race, so we’ll work on a number of things when we get back to the shop to get a bit faster,” he shared. “As a driver you always want to finish just a little further up, but for the first two races of the year to have a podium and just be outside of the top-five in the other, we’ll take it.”
Tracy Hines Racing would like to thank: Parker Machinery, Powered by Toyota, Turbines, Inc., Afco Racing Shocks, Schoenfeld, Stanton Racing Engines, Daum Motorsport, Indiana Underground, Hoosier, Bell and Drivin Racing Oil.