Weekly notebook presented by GRT Race Cars
Notes: Despite hot start, Hines staying grounded
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
Not many drivers can say they’ve won every non-touring race they’ve entered so far in 2013. But Jeremy Hines of Seymour, Ind., has pulled the feat off with a red-hot start in his second season of Super Late Model racing.
The 35-year-old driver beginning enters the last weekend in April on a five-race winning streak after going a perfect 4-for-4 at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Ind., and grabbing an additional victory at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky.
While he’s enjoying the ride, the second-generation driver is making sure he and his family-owned team stay grounded.
“It’s not my first rodeo. We know it’s going to end sometime. Somebody’s going to go out there and kick our butts,” Hines said. The key is to “not get too flipped out about running fifth one night. We’ve just gotta come back the next week and try to get it again.”
The son of Rick Hines, who won more than 150 feature victories mostly in the sportsman division over a 25-year career, Jeremy was also successful in the sportsman division, capturing two overall UMP DIRTcar titles. He moved up to Crate Late Models four years ago and clicked off nearly 40 victories, and he moved up to Super Late Models last season, going winless.
His first career Super Late Model victory came March 30 at Twin Cities and he hasn’t slowed down since.
“I tell you, we got that new MasterSbilt this winter, that new Gen-X (model), that and we’ve had a little luck on our side,” Hines said. “Keith and Tader (Masters) put me in a real good car and it’s paying off.”
Hines started the season March 23 at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway’s Indiana Icebreaker and struggled in the prelims for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event. Getting a provisional for the 50-lap feature, he felt better in his new car during the main event won by Dennis Erb Jr.
“I think I found something there in the feature and we’ve been rolling ever since,” Hines said. “There’s no magic setup. Everybody drives different. (Chassis builders) get you in the ballpark and you go from there.”
With his shop just a few miles from MasterSbilt’s Crothersville, Ind., shop, Hines has a tight connection to the Masters and “they have been really good to me over the late couple of years,” he said. “That means a bunch.”
Hines also gets help and support from his family, and appreciates wife Carrie’s working around his racing amid their children’s weekend activities. His parents towed his car down to Ponderosa before his April 5 victory — his job with Brownstown Electric has Hines traveling in Kentucky most of the time — and his dad helps Jeremy along with his brother Jacoby, who drives a modified.
“We’re just 40-hour-a-week people,” Hines said. “We do what we can and we try to have the best equipment we can afford and go from there.”
The winning streak is “good for my family and friends and stuff that’s help me ... there’s a lot of work that goes into this.”
His trickiest problem might be deciding where to race Saturdays. Brownstown is his favorite track and just 14 miles away, but Twin Cities is just 26 miles away and where he’s unbeaten so far this year.
“I’m on a winning streak at North Vernon and I kind of hate to leave it,” he said.
Hines plans to throw some special events in the mix this season, too. He’ll tackle the $10,000-to-win events at Ponderosa, Richmond (Ky.) Raceway’s specials, and perhaps the closest UMP DIRTcar Summernationals events at Brownstown, Twin Cities, Tri-State Speedway in Haubstaudt, Ind., and Florence Speedway in Union, Ky.
One racing trip upcoming is May 16-19 in Illinois with Sunoco American Late Model Series events at Charleston Speedway, Kankakee County Speedway, Fairbury American Legion Speedway and Vermilion County Raceway in Danville.
• Scoring an April 20 sweep, Howard Means of Belmont, Miss., won Super and Limited Late Model features at Moulton (Ala.) Speedway.
• Christian Joyner of Castalia, N.C., won his third straight Late Model feature at County Line Raceway in Elm City, N.C., and his fourth overall.
• On April 21 at Monett (Mo.) Speedway, Leslie Essary of Crane, Mo., won while subbing for Justin Wells, who wasn’t feeling well. Among drivers drivers Essary outran were his father Ken (second), cousin Shane (third) and son Garret (eighth) as three generations competed in the same event.
• Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., earned $2,000 at Dixie Speedway’s Spring Championships, his second straight victory at the Woodstock, Ga., oval.
• Winning at Screven Motor Speedway, Phil Pittman of Vidalia, Ga., collected $1,500 for winning the first round of the Super 7 Challenge at the Sylvania, Ga., oval.
• Frankie Hall of Parkersburg, W.Va., won the Late Model feature at Legendary Hilltop Speedway in Marietta, Ohio, for the third straight week.
• Winning his second straight at Florence Speedway, Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind., topped Mike Jewell at the half-mile oval in Union, Ky.
Weekly points chases
UMP DIRTcar (Super Late Models): Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., has 459 points after nine races to lead Mike Hammerle (425) of St. Charles, Mo., and Josh Richards (407) at Shinnston, W.Va., in points mostly drawn from Florida Speedweeks.
UMP DIRTcar (Crate Late Models): Aaron Heck of Mount Vernon, Ill., leads with 359 points after seven races with Jeff Walston (338), Credence Mott (250), Evan Taylor (240) and Nick Lyons (204) in pursuit.
AMRA: K.C. Burdette of Beckley, W.Va., leads the Ohio-based sanctioning body’s standings through two weekend with 163 points over Andy Bond (159) of Coolville, Ohio, and Dan Morrison (140) of Newport, Ohio.
ULMA: Jason Russell of Henley, Mo., captured the first points race of the season on the Missouri-based Lucas Cattle Co. United Late Model Association. Russell (127 points) leads Joe Walkenhorst (125) and Larry Jones (123).
NeSmith Chevrolet Series: Michael Arnold of Hattiesburg, Miss., moved into the lead on the Georgia-based Crate Late Model organization with an April 20 victory at St. Tammany Raceway in Lacombe, La. Arnold has 194 points to lead Lucky Keeton (191), Shannon Lee (186), Sid Scarbrough (186) and Mickey Trosclair (183).
SECA: Mac Owens of Woodruff, S.C., leads the first-year Southeastern Crate Association with 102 points over Joey Phillips (101) and Terry Bullard (100). No driver has more than one victory so far.
Upcoming weekly specials
Among non-touring and independent special events at dirt tracks around the country this weekend:
Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway (April 26): The Douglas Dodge 50 pays $5,000-to-win for Super Late Models.
Green Valley Speedway, Glencoe, Ala. (April 26-27): Crate Nationals include a pair of $2,500-to-win events for unsanctioned Crate Late Models. Sportsman drivers also run two $2,500-to-win races.
Natural Bridge (Va.) Speedway (April 26): The track’s Steel Block Invitational pays $1,500-to-win.
Belle-Clair Speedway, Belleville, Ill. (April 26): The Dambacher Trucking 40 pays $1,500-to-win for UMP DIRTcar Late Models.
Midway Speedway, Crooksville, Ohio (April 26): The Down and Dirty 30 pays $2,000-to-win for Super Late Models.
Ponderosa Speedway, Junction City, Ky. (April 26): To replace dates lost to weather, the track added a $1,500-to-win event for Good Neighbor Pharmacy-sponsored Super Late Models.
West Liberty (Iowa) Raceway (April 27): The Sperry Engines Spring Championship features a $1,000-to-win feature for IMCA Late Models.
Clayhill Motorsports Park, Atwood, Tenn. (April 27): The third round of the King of the Clayhill miniseries.
East Bay Raceway Park, Gibsonton, Fla. (April 27): The first round of the Donnie Tanner Memorial miniseries pays $1,500-to-win.
St. Tammany Raceway, Lacombe, La. (April 27): Super Late Models are on the card for the first time this season.
Deep South Speedway, Loxley, Ala. (April 27): The first of three $1,500-to-win Super Late Model races at Loxley.
Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway (April 27): The San Joaquin County Fairgrounds facility, built last fall, pays $2,000-to-win for Super Late Models.