New Castle, Ind.—Feb. 15, 2013— When it was announced that the USAC National Midget Series would open the 2013 season in Florida, Tracy Hines was pretty excited. He was already headed to the “Sunshine State” with his sprint car, so getting to race two more times in a midget and open both the sprint car and midget season at the same time offers the perfect way to kick-off the outdoor portion of his 2013 season.
Hines will take to the track at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 17 and Monday, Feb. 18, aboard the No. 24 Parker Machinery/Powered by Toyota Spike, in what will be the first visit by any USAC series to the high-banked, half-mile oval. It will mark the sixth track in Florida (pavement and dirt) that he has raced at during his career.
“It will definitely feel good to unload the car and get started in Florida,” said Hines. “We had a pretty strong season last year in the midget and improved on some areas in the winter to get a little bit better for 2013. The competition will be tough as always this year and it’s our goal to be fast right off the truck and be in contention.”
Hines last competed in a midget on pavement in Florida in 2006, finishing second in a special non-points event that the USAC National Midget Series ran in conjunction with the PRI Trade Show at Orlando Speedworld Speedway. In the companion event for the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series at the three-eighths-miles that same night, he also finished second.
“Last time I ran a midget in Florida, I came pretty close to winning, so it would be great to pick up a win to start the season this year,” he shared. “To have the midgets getting to open the season in Florida this year is great and that makes the next race in the Midwest seem not quite as far away, like it has in the past after racing in the Chili Bowl in early January. It will be a good test for us in Florida to see how we stack up for the rest of the year.”
The native of New Castle, Ind., has one career USAC win in the state of Florida, with that coming at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a Traxxas Silver Crown Series event in 2007. The veteran driver raced at the now-defunct USA International Speedway in Lakeland in an open wheel car in 2006. In addition, Hines made four starts at the famed Daytona International Speedway between 2004-2006 in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Hines earned four wins and recorded 12 Top-10 finishes with the USAC National Midget Series last season en route to a second-place finish in points. He was victorious twice on the pavement at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, while also picking up wins on the dirt at Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas and Tri-City Speedway in Illinois.
“All in all, the car was pretty good at most of the races last season,” he shared. “We won a few races, though you always want to win more and you tend to remember the ones you probably should have won and didn’t. We worked very hard during the off-season, improving on some things and I’m excited to get on the track at New Smyrna to see all of those long hours come to fruition.”
The veteran driver enters the season with 32 career USAC National Midget Series wins, which is sixth on the all-time series win list. He has won at seven tracks that are on the 2013 schedule, with five of those being on the dirt and two on pavement.
Hines opened his 2013 season last month in the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., finishing fifth in a preliminary feature on the third of four qualifying nights, as well as coming home ninth in the Race of Champions on the opening night of the event, finishing eighth. His week ended with some bad luck in the second B-main on the final night of the famed event.
The USAC National Midget Series will contest separate pavement and dirt championships this season. Currently, eight races are scheduled for the pavement series and 22 for the dirt series, and Hines will compete in all of them. He also will contest the full USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series schedule this year and the entire USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series calendar. He is a former titlist in both the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series and the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series.
“We definitely have the bar placed high after last season in the midget,” said Hines. “The midget title is the one USAC title that I haven’t won yet, and it would be great to win it. We’re going to give it our all and starting off on the right foot in Florida is a big key to that.”
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.