SCREAMIN' EAGLE TEAM PREPARES FOR EMOTIONAL EVENT AT HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK Hines and Krawiec Will Join Entire Series in Mourning Loss of Medlen MILWAUKEE (March 27, 2007) -- This is the race that few people are anxious to start. This is the first...
SCREAMIN' EAGLE TEAM PREPARES FOR EMOTIONAL EVENT AT HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK
Hines and Krawiec Will Join Entire Series in Mourning Loss of Medlen
MILWAUKEE (March 27, 2007) -- This is the race that few people are anxious to start. This is the first race the entire NHRA POWERade Drag Racing community will be together since the loss of racer and friend, Eric Medlen.
Medlen, 33, died Friday after succumbing to injuries suffered in a test session crash last Monday at Gainesville (Fla.,) Raceway.
This will be the first race without Medlen and everyone knows it won't be easy. Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson factory rider Andrew Hines said the initial shock of Medlen's loss has yet to subside.
"It's a tough loss for everybody," Hines said. "I didn't get a whole lot of chances to hang out with him but when we did talk, we always had a good laugh. It's rough on the entire racing community, whether you race a bike or drive a car. He left his mark on the sport and it won't be the same without him."
"This will obviously be an emotional weekend for everyone because Eric was such a presence at the track," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "We asked him to speak to a group of Japanese media that came to the track last year and before we brought them over, Eric learned a few words in Japanese so he could greet them properly and make them feel welcomed. He didn't think anything of the extra effort. He was a great spokesman for the sport and it won't be the same without him.
"Our condolences and deepest sympathies go out to the Medlen family and John Force Racing organization."
Hines said the best thing to do is to get on the race track and make a good pass.
"I can't wait to roll in there and get on the bike," Hines said. "It may not seem like it, but we do have momentum that we are hoping will carry over from Gainesville. Our team has never won the event at Houston and I would love to change that. I came close last year and went to the finals. Matt (Hines, crew chief and former racer) earned the No. 1 qualifying award there four times, but never won. So we all want to win this weekend and finally check that off our list."
Krawiec has already checked off a few items on his list of things to do this season. The 30-year-old Englishtown, N.J. resident made quite a splash in his first appearance with the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines team.
Krawiec had previously been to eight NHRA events and had not qualified for any of them. He not only qualified for his first NHRA event in Gainesville, but he qualified in the top half of the field too. That in itself was a big step, but he made a giant leap on Sunday. He went all the way to the semifinals and is currently in third place of the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle point standings.
"I'm really looking forward to being able to get back on the bike and hopefully make some clean, consistent passes like we did in Gainesville," Krawiec said. "The only difference will be that there is going to be a lot less pressure now that the first race is out of the way."
He also wants to prove that Gainesville wasn't a fluke. He wants to prove that to one person more than anyone else.
"I want to prove it to myself that I am capable of having such performance days," Krawiec said. "It's such a tough field of competitors out there. The racers are great and the competition is incredible. For my own benefit, I want to prove to myself that I really can compete with them."
Hines is the three-time defending Pro Stock Motorcycle champion with eight career victories and 19 No. 1 qualifying awards.
"We want to go there and put on a show for the fans," Hines said. "If the weather is just right, we can run in the low 6.90s and put on a good performance for the fans and that's the most important part. If we do our jobs right and win too, that's just icing on the cake."