Tyler Hines Heading To SK Modified Division At Stafford Speedway For 2015

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

Tyler Hines in competition at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Stafford Speedway/Driscoll Motorsports Photography)

Tyler Hines in competition at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Stafford Speedway/Driscoll Motorsports Photography)

North Haven native Tyler Hines will make the move up the open wheel ladder at Stafford Motor Speedway for the 2015 season and challenge for SPAFCO Rookie of the Year honors. Hines began his Stafford career in 2012 in the SK Light division and in three seasons, he has 2 wins, 23 top-5, and 33 top-10 finishes. Hines knows he has a big challenge ahead of him, but he is looking forward to tackling that challenge and trying to take home the $1,100 bonus from SPAFCO Race Chassis and Parts that goes along with winning the R.O.Y. honors.

“We talked about moving up all last season,” said Hines. “It was dependent on a couple of things like getting a motor and then figuring out if we were going to run the same car or a different car. We have some things in the works now to acquire a new car, we have a Pettit engine, and we’re working on the financials because it’s more expensive to run the SK Modified® car. I’ve always wanted to race at a very competitive level and moving into the SK Modified® division is the next logical step for me to do that. I’ve learned a lot racing in the SK Light division and I’m looking forward to the challenge because it’s going to be a big challenge racing against the best modified drivers but I’m very excited to get started. Rookie of the Year is always the long term goal for the season. Any rookie wants to win the rookie award and that money would definitely help us out with our team finances. It’s great to be able to be racing for that kind of a bonus thanks to SPAFCO and if we are able to win that, it will definitely help us out.”

Hines has campaigned the number 25 for his three seasons in the SK Light ranks, but for his move into the SK Modified® division, he has picked a new number. Hines will be sporting 94 on the doors and roof of his SK Modified® ride during the 2015 season.

“My original favorite NASCAR driver was Bill Elliott although my father will probably say I liked him because he was sponsored by McDonald’s,” said Hines. “Plus 1994 was the year that I was born, so there’s a double meaning there. I wanted to pick a number that had some meaning rather than picking a random number.”

Although Hines will be new to the SK Modified® division in 2015, he was able to get a small taste of what to expect and the differences between an SK Modified® and an SK Light car when he took Frank Ruocco’s #91 car out for a practice session during the 2014 season. The limited experience gives Hines a head start, but he knows he faces a big learning curve.

“I think the biggest obstacle to overcome will be racing against guys like Ted Christopher, Ryan Preece, Rowan Pennink, Woody Pitkat, and all the Tour guys because they have so much experience,” said Hines. “I only have 3 years of experience at Stafford and I ran a couple laps in an SK this year during practice, but it’s not even close to the experience those guys have. The biggest thing will be learning to race with those guys and I’m sure I’ll be learning from them by following them on the track and getting beat by them. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have learned enough that I can return the favor and beat some of those guys on the track. I definitely want to be competitive every week and I’m not going to just go out there and go for a ride, but I know it’s going to be a steep learning curve. The competition in the SK’s is really stiff and there are a ton of cars that can win any week. I was able to see the differences between the SK and SK Light cars when I practiced Frank Ruocco’s car this past season. One of the biggest differences I noticed was the power down the straightaways. The SK car pulls all the way versus the SK Light car and they handle similarly in the corners, which was nice to find out.”

While Hines knows he faces a steep challenge to get up to speed with the SK Modified® regulars, he is hopeful that by the end of the season he will be strong enough to contend for and possibly even win a race. SK Light drivers Chase Dowling and Ronnie Williams were both able to reach NAPA Victory Lane this season as rookies in the SK Modified® division and Hines is hopeful that he can follow in their footsteps.

“The long term goal is to work towards winning the Rookie of the Year award and the short term goal is to improve every week, finish races early on, work my way towards the front, and hopefully by the end of the year be up front every week and have a shot at winning a race,” said Hines. “I’d love to be able to win a race, which would be a huge accomplishment. It was definitely reassuring to see guys that I raced with and against could get wins as an SK Modified® rookie. I think it’s a realistic goal. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on me to learn a lot but as long as I take all the advice from everyone around me and learn the track, I think it’s possible.”

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