Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Eddie Krawiec rode a Harley-Davidson V-Rod to the semi-final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway. Krawiec lost that round to top qualifier Hector Arana, who won the event by defeating Gieco Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer in the finals.
The loss to Arana dropped Krawiec, the defending NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, from first to second place and nine points behind Arana in the Countdown to the Championship points race, which began with the Carolina Nationals.
"If we take the V-Rod to the semi-finals, that’s a good showing," said Krawiec. "You win a championship by being consistent, and if we can make it as far as the semis in each of the remaining races, we can win the title again."
Arana paced the field in qualifying with a run of 6.965 seconds. Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines qualified second at 6.980. Krawiec was fifth with a pass at 7.024 seconds.
"We were lacking performance early in the weekend, which we sorted out for race day," said Krawiec. "But with the bonus points now being awarded during qualifying rounds, we need to focus on being quick right away."
The new NHRA bonus system, which went into effect at the Carolina Nationals, awards points to the teams in each pro category with the quickest elapsed time during each of four qualifying session. The rider or driver with the quickest time receives three bonus points. Those with the second- and third-quickest elapsed times during each qualifying session will receive two and one points, respectively. Hines topped the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with eight qualifying bonus points at the Carolina Nationals.
Hines lost to Junior Pippin on the Stone Mountain/Granite Mountain Harley-Davidson Buell in the first round of Sunday eliminations. Hines and Pippin both fouled at the start, but Hines left 0.005 seconds early while Pippin left 0.003 seconds early, and Pippin advanced to the second round.
Krawiec advanced in the first round after Suzuki rider Jim Underdahl fouled at the start. Krawiec fouled in the second round, but his opponent, Horne Racing Bull rider Douglas Horne left earlier, and the Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod rider moved on the semi finals.
In the semi-final, Arana got the hole shot with a 0.003-second reaction time to Krawiec’s 0.010. That proved to the be the difference in a very close race, as a 6.991-second run by Krawiec was not enough to get past Arana, who had an ET of 6.997 seconds, a total advantage of 0.001 seconds. Stoffer fouled at the start in the final to give Arana his second-straight event win.
After the first of five events in the 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship, Arana leads with 2194 points. Krawiec is second with 2185 points, followed by Hines with 2125 and Horne with 2010.
The next Pro Stock Motorcycle event on the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule is the O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 24-27, at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.