HINES COMES UP SHORT IN BID FOR RECORD-BREAKING FOURTH NHRA CHAMPIONSHIP
Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson Riders Hines and Krawiec Wrap up Season
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2007) -- Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Motorsports rider Andrew Hines came up short in his bid for a record-breaking fourth NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Hines lost in the second round at the Auto Club Raceway, opening the door for Matt Smith to win the race and the 2007 Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.
Hines beat Shawn Gann and the Rae Girl Suzuki team in the opening round before losing to Antron Brown and the U.S. Army team in the second round. Hines fouled at the starting line, giving the race to Brown.
Hines went into the Pomona event as the category points leader and three-time defending champion. He was aiming to become the first rider in NHRA history to win four consecutive titles.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Hines said. "This is very tough to swallow. I had the championship at my fingertips and I let it slip away. The whole day went through my head once I saw the win-light flashing in the other lane. I had seven seconds to think about the worst possible scenarios and those fears came true.
"Matt Smith and the entire Torco Racing team provided some great competition this season and they absolutely deserved to be in the championship chase. I just wish it had gone our way, but they worked very hard to earn the title this season."
Screamin' Eagle teammate Eddie Krawiec beat Matt Guidera and the Mohegan Sun Buell squad in the first round before losing to Chip Ellis and the Drag Specialties Buell team in the second round.
"I was very excited going into Sunday's elimination rounds," Krawiec said. "We had such an awesome bike and things were going very well. I thought we ran well all weekend and it was made even better by being the first rider ever to run a 6.99-pass at Pomona.
"Drew and I had the two quickest ETs of the first round and we were ready to go after the second round wins. It just didn't work out that way. I made a mistake and my hand got stuck underneath the clutch lever and I suffered the loss because of it. I learned a valuable lesson and I know that won't ever happen again."
Hines qualified in the No. 1 position for the 21st time in his career with a track record ET of 6.956 seconds at 192.22 mph. Krawiec qualified in the No. 6 spot with a 6.972 at 189.90.
This was the first trip to Pomona for Krawiec.
"It was great to finally get to race at Pomona and also have some passes in the 6-second range too," Krawiec said. "It would have been a nice way to end the season with a trip to the final round but I'm still proud of the way the bikes ran."
Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said the team overcame many challenges just to be in the hunt for another championship.
"I think it's incredible that the team has been so competitive for so many years," Paluso said. "We had a lot of things go our way last year in order to clinch a third consecutive title and this year we just came up a little short. Matt Smith and his team were competitive all year and they put themselves in the perfect position to take advantage of our second round losses.
"I still can't say enough about the way our team and riders performed this weekend and all season. They are disappointed now but someday they will be able to look back and see what great things were accomplished this season."
While the team fell short of their winning goals, Krawiec said the event was still exciting.
"I was completely in awe at how many people were there all weekend," Krawiec said. "The place was packed and you could feel the energy from the crowd. We had great support and the morale was good all weekend. It really helped our confidence going into eliminations and in general made the weekend more fun."
Hines is already focused on what he can do to prepare for 2008.
"This was an incredibly challenging season for me and the entire team," Hines said. "It's disappointing to not have another championship for our Screamin' Eagle team but I think we have a lot of great experiences that we can pull from this season to help make us even more competitive in seasons to come. We're going to take a short break and then get right back in the shop and start getting ready for next season."