Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Eddie Krawiec retained second place in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship, advancing to the final round of eliminations at the NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. Krawiec, making his 10th final-round appearance of the season aboard a Harley-Davidson V-Rod, lost to Michael Phillips on the MPR & DAM Sports Suzuki. The event was postponed until Monday due to rain on Sunday.With two events left in the Countdown playoffs, Krawiec is now 28 points behind Buell rider and points leader Hector Arana. Arana, who led Krawiec by 27 points coming into Memphis, was eliminated in the semi-final round when he fouled at the starting line, but he also backed up the 6.851-second pass he made to lead qualifying in Memphis, and earned a 20-point bonus for setting a new national ET record for the class. The previous record of 6.860 seconds was set by Andrew Hines on the Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod at Madison, Ill., in May."We had a pretty good bike all weekend," said Krawiec, who is the defending Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion, "but I’d say we never made a optimum pass. With the cool weather and the rain yesterday, the track was very tight and unforgiving. I spun the tire a little in the final and I’m sure that cost us some ET. We are still less than two rounds out of first place with two Countdown events to go, so anything can happen. We’ve just got to stay consistent and keep going rounds.
Krawiec qualified third with a pass at 6.886, behind Arana (6.851) and NitroFish.com Suzuki rider Matt Smith (6.876). Hines qualified fourth at 6.894 seconds. Arana earned four bonus points during qualifying, Krawiec earned three points, and Hines earned seven points.In Monday’s first round of eliminations, Hines lost to Suzuki rider G.T. Tonglet after his rear tire broke loose at the start."My bike was never coming off the line clean all weekend, and on Monday the track had changed so much we really missed the set-up," said Hines. "The track was tight and there was no way to save the run after I lost traction."Krawiec marched to the finals with a win over Rum Bum Buell rider Bailey Whitaker in round one, over Doug Horne on the Horne Racing Buell (who fouled) in round two, and over Smith in a close semi-finals race. After posting ETs of 6.97, 6.95 and 6.92 in the first three rounds, Krawiec fell back a bit to 6.948 and could not match the 6.935 run of Phillips in the final.After three of five events in the 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship, Arana leads with 2420 points. Krawiec is second with 2392 points. Phillips moves up to third with 2255, followed by Smith with 2253 and Hines with 2249 points.The next Pro Stock Motorcycle event on the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule is the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Oct. 29-Nov.1, at the Strips at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev.