Harley wins race, Buell win championship
Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Eddie Krawiec rode a Harley-Davidson V-Rod to win his fifth NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle event of the season at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway. Krawiec defeated Horne Racing Buell rider Doug Horne in the final round of eliminations.
Despite the win, Krawiec came up two points short of repeating as the Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. Krawiec started the day 62 points behind Buell rider Hector Arana in the battle for the championship. Arana left the door open just a crack for Krawiec when he fouled at the starting line against Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines in round two on Sunday.
At that point, to win the title Krawiec had to win the event and earn 20 bonus points for going quicker than 6.851 seconds and setting a new national elapsed time record. Krawiec needed to make a pass of at least 6.918 seconds in the semi-finals to have a valid back-up for a potential record-setting run in the final round, and when he ran 6.95 against Hines in the semi-finals, Arana claimed his first national championship.
Eddie Krawlec Speaks…
"We came here to win and we did," said Krawiec. "We got behind in qualifying, and it shows just how important those bonus points have become. I think we defended the championship 100 percent, and I’m not disappointed."
Krawiec, who won the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship in 2008 without winning an event, made it to the finals 10 times in 2009 and won five of those races. Through the course of the season, Krawiec did not commit a single "red light" starting-line foul. His Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines teammate, Andrew Hines, won three events and the Ringer Gloves Pro Bike Battle bonus event in Indianapolis. All totaled, the Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rods won eight of 17 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle events in 2009, the best results ever for the team.
Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said the team is to be commended for the great results they posted this season especially since it was the engine’s first year in competition. This year, the Screamin’ Eagle / Vance & Hines team debuted a new fuel-injected V-Twin engine with four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshafts. The new engine was a response to a change in the Pro Stock Motorcycle rules and replaced the two-valve/pushrod EFI V-Twin the team had used since 2002.
Anne Paluso Speaks…
"I think it’s incredible that the team has been so competitive for so many years," Paluso said. "If you add Andrew’s Ringers Glove win to the count, we won 50 percent of our races this year. I can’t say enough about the way our team and riders performed this weekend and all season. They may be disappointed now, but someday they will be able to look back and see what great things were accomplished this season."
Krawiec came to Pomona 54 points behind Arana, and hoped to make up some of that ground with bonus points in qualifying. But Krawiec spun his rear tire in the first qualifying run on Thursday, and then never ran better than third place in the next three rounds. Meanwhile, Arana won both rounds on Saturday and gained five bonus points on Krawiec by the end of the final session. Arana was also the top-qualifier for the event with a 6.918-second pass, worth three more points over Krawiec, who qualified fourth at 6.959. Hines qualified ninth at 6.986 seconds.
On Sunday, Hines defeated Michael Phillips on the MPR & DAM Sports Suzuki in round one, and then helped his teammate by beating Arana in round two. Arana left the line 0.012 seconds early. Hines was also early, but only by 0.004 seconds, and so got the win.
Krawiec beat Suzuki riders Steve Johnson and Jim Underdahl in the first two rounds, and got a win in round three when Hines left the line early. Krawiec won in the final when Horne posted a 0.001-second red light. Krawiec went out in style with a 6.905-second ET, fastest Pro Stock Motorcycle run of the event and a new track record for the class.
Andrew Hines Speaks… (Hines finished the season in third place)
"We had a great end of the season," said Hines. "Eddie won here and I won in Las Vegas. That’s good for team morale and it will have the other teams thinking about us all off-season. Personally, I improved from fourth to third this year, and I’m really happy about that. In terms of wins, this was the best season ever for the Screamin’ Eagle team. You can bet we’ll be working hard to get that title back in 2010."
In the final 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship point standings, Arana has 2590 points. Krawiec is second with 2588 points. Hines finishes in third with 2446 points.
To cap the season’s end, Harley-Davidson has extended its contract with Vance & Hines through the 2012 NHRA drag racing season. This comes in conjunction with Harley-Davidson extending its sponsorship as the Official Motorcycle program with NHRA and its title sponsorship of the NHRA Harley-Davidson Sportsman Motorcycle Series.