PEORIA, Ariz. — Something about the Arizona climate seems to suit Tracy Hines, as the 2011 Western World Champ broke a six-month dry spell in AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car competition by wiring the field in Friday night’s 30-lapper that kicked off the 14th annual Hose Advantage Hall of Fame Classic at Canyon Speedway Park.
While Hines collected his 47th career USAC National Sprint Car win and first since April 25 at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
Hines gunned into the lead at the outset from his front row outside starting position aboard The Carolina Nut Company No. 4 DRC and never looked back en route to victory lane.
“I really got pretty lucky and caught the yellows and reds when I needed them,” Hines explained. “I was a little too tight, I would have been in trouble in traffic.”
After a red flag one lap into the going for a turn four skirmish in which Mike Martin got upside down, Chase Stockon gave chase all the way, pressuring Hines for the point several times over the course of the race.
“Chase and I are pretty close, so I knew that he would race me hard but that he wouldn’t do something stupid like knock a front end down or something,” Hines said.
Hines had little to worry about, as Stockon had his hands full most of the way fending off the advances of USAC-CRA champion-to-be Damion Gardner and Ryan Bernal, whose forays deep into the Canyon cushion finally proved to be too much as he dumped it in turn two on the 23rd lap.
Hines kept his challengers at bay over the final eight-lap run to the checkered flag with Stockon fending off Gardner for runner-up honors.
Robert Ballou and pole starter R.J. Johnson rounded out the top five with Kevin Thomas Jr., sixth.
Brady Bacon moved one step closer to the USAC title by advancing from 12th to seventh to take a 60-point advantage over 12th-place finisher Bryan Clauson into Saturday night’s season finale.
Gardner opened the night by setting a quick time of 13.759 seconds over the 34-car field.