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Hines Wins USAC Midget Race Fresh Off Eldora Trucks
Posted by: newsla on Jul 30, 2013 - 06:22 AM
Hines Wins USAC Midget Race Fresh Off Eldora Trucks

Former USAC champion Tracy Hines didn't let an off-speed encounter in last week's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Eldora Speedway slow him down, as he bounced back with his 87th career USAC national series win and another top-five finish in a pair of events Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind.


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Hines made his return to the Truck Series after an eight-year hiatus with a 13th-place finish last Wednesday in the NCWTS' inaugural CarCash Mudsummer Classic presented by CNBC Prime's 'The Profit' and he was only too happy to get back to his USAC roots after that.

At the .686-mile LOR oval Hines dominated the 30-lap Rich Vogler Classic Midget race from the pole, and opened a six-point lead in the USAC Midget championship standings over Darrell Hagen. In what was a great night for Hines, he finished fifth in the USAC Silver Crown race won by Tanner Swanson, which puts Hines fourth in that division's standings.

It was a great bounce-back weekend for the two-time USAC champion who drove ThorSport Racing's No. 13 SealMaster Toyota in NASCAR's first national series dirt-track event, at the famed Eldora oval in Rossburg, Ohio.

Hines' best role for that race was ultimately in schooling his two teammates, Truck Series' championship leader Matt Crafton and fifth-place Johnny Sauter and their respective crews in the finer points of dirt racing.

The classic dirt racer, who has 12 career wins at Eldora in USAC open-wheel cars, couldn't have predicted the one-lane racetrack that ultimately developed -- though it did have multiple grooves at certain points in the day and the night's race -- though not at the end.

"It wasn't what I saw coming a week ago, but it was a good race," Hines said. "You needed track position. I felt like we were better on the long runs and we made an adjustment on the last break that would make us better on the short run.

"I didn't feel like 13th really showed how good the guys had the truck. I'm a little disappointed because after the first day of practice we never really caught up and we were behind the 8 ball on our changes, and of course qualifying favored the trucks that went early, and so on and so forth..."

Ultimately, the handling of Hines' truck -- and the shortage of dirt-racing skill by the drivers around him -- prevented Hines from making up much ground.

"I just got pounded up there," Hines said of the high groove. "We were terrible up there, just loose, loose, loose... I felt like we were competitive, it was just too little, too late. The racetrack was getting wider and it was starting to clear out. It never really laid rubber, but it really cleaned-up enough that you could start going two- to two-and-a-half (lanes) wide, which made it racy. At first you couldn't do that.

"That helped at the end, but restarting back there with some of the guys that just didn't care -- it's just not fun to race like that, but I guess that was what I needed to do. You know who the guys are that know how to race and the ones that don't, and I was around a bunch that didn't."

Hines season continues in multiple USAC divisions, where he plans to race up to 100 events this season. His next events are Tuesday in a USAC Midget at Beloit, Kan., Thursday in a Midget at Belleville, Kan. and Friday in a USAC Silver Crown car at Belleville.

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