NHRA: Seeling's Primary Focus Remains Winston Championship
14 August 1998BRAINERD, Minn. -- The record speaks for itself.
During eight Pro Stock Motorcycle races this season Matt Hines has compiled an incredible 28- 1 round win mark. His single loss came at the Mopar Parts Nationals in Englishtown, N.J. That first round slip is the only blemish on his Winston leading record.
Another rider, who based on similar point totals of season's past in the NHRA two-wheel category, would be leading the standings at this point of the season if not for Hines' near-perfect season. Angelle Seeling, from New Orleans, has compiled an impressive 17-7 record on her Team Winston Suzuki. She has one victory in four final round appearances.
The difference in her season: The Hines factor.
Her lone victory came at Englishtown, when Hines took a first round exit. Her three final round losses came against the rider of the Vance & Hines prepared Eagle One Suzuki.
In fact, Seeling has not been able to beat Hines this season. After Seeling graciously allowed Hines some extra time in the semi-finals to start his flooded bike at the Sears Craftsman Nationals in St. Louis, Hines was thankful but not merciful -- he went on to score the win and earn another event victory. At the Winston All-Star race at Rockingham, N.C., Hines managed to use his power advantage to overcome yet another Seeling holeshot to earn the big payday.
With six races remaining this season, the strategy is clear for Seeling. At this point, her road to the Winston championship has only one available route. It must take a turn for the better at the corner of Vance & Hines.
She and her Team Winston crew will continue their quest for a first Winston championship at the 17th annual VisionAire NorthStar Nationals, Aug. 20-23 at Brainerd International Raceway. The $1.5 million race is the 15th of 22 events in the $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
"We've lost some ground to Matt, but I'm still focused on only one thing -- winning the Winston championship," said a confident Seeling. "Matt has been very tough this season, almost unstoppable at times, but we know that first round losses can happen to anybody. If anyone is due for a first round loss or two, he is. With six races remaining, we still have plenty of time to catch him."
Seeling trails Hines by 253 points entering Minnesota's premier drag racing event. What would seem like an insurmountable sum to overcome for most riders, is just another challenge for Seeling. She knows that racing luck is going to swing her way pretty soon. When it does, she'll be ready.
"When those first round losses do happen, we've got to be in a position to capitalize on the situation," Seeling said. "We have to keep striving for No. 1. As long as we continue to give our best effort each weekend, then no matter what happens I'll know I've done my best."
That's always been Seeling's motto, on that track and off. There's no quit in her.
"Even if somebody came to me today and said that Matt had already locked up the Winston championship, I'd still race like we have a shot at the title," Seeling said. "We want to win as many races as we can for Team Winston. We've had a very good season already, but a few more wins would make it even better. A Winston championship would be a dream come true."