Brainerd: Vance & Hines final notes

HINES EARNS 11TH CAREER VICTORY; KRAWIEC MAKES SECOND CONSECUTIVE FINAL ROUND APPEARANCE Hines Clinches Countdown Spot While Krawiec Moves into Contention BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2007) --Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates...

Hines Clinches Countdown Spot While Krawiec Moves into Contention

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2007) --Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec faced off in the final round for the first time Sunday. Hines got the best of the situation, earning his 11th career victory and first at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

It was Hines' 19th career final round appearance and Krawiec's second career final. Krawiec was coming off his first ever final at the national event in Sonoma, Calif., just two weeks ago. He only joined the Screamin' Eagle squad this season.

"It was awesome to have an all-Harley final with the new teammates," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "It was such a big weekend for both riders in terms of earning a position in the Countdown to the Championship so we couldn't be more pleased with how well this Screamin' Eagle team did here in Brainerd."

Starting this year, NHRA has developed a playoff format for all professional categories. The top eight competitors in each category will advance to the second round starting with the Aug. 29 U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. Hines was in third place and Krawiec was in 10th place going into the Brainerd event.

The final round appearance helped both riders greatly. Hines not only moved into second place in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle standings, but he clinched a position in the Countdown with one race left before the points are readjusted.

With the help from back-to-back final rounds, Krawiec has steadily moved into contention for a Countdown position. He was outside the top 10 following six of the first 10 races of the year but has now moved into the coveted eighth position.

"My guys just made some great tuning calls this weekend," Hines said after winning his third race this season. "We were a little behind after the first round of qualifying, but we figured it out. We just wanted to qualify and be ready for Sunday.

"We were able to clinch a Countdown position and we won the race. It was a great weekend."

Krawiec has been as low as 13th place this season and gives credit to his crew for even being in a position to grab the eighth and final Countdown spot.

"We've been to back-to-back finals and I'm really excited about that," Krawiec said. "That says a lot right there about the team we have. The guys have been giving me such a competitive motorcycle. The last two races show just how competitive we can be. I'm lucky to have the team I do, helping me along the way.

"My goal was to be in the top eight in my first year. It's a tough field in this Countdown year and I couldn't be any happier to be so close to accomplishing that goal."

Hines beat Shawn Gann and the Race Girl/Lucas Oil Suzuki in the first round. Hines recorded a 7.004-second pass at 190.06 mph to beat Gann's 7.150 at 187.00. Krawiec beat Steve Johnson in the first round with a 7.051 at 188.91 on his V-Rod, beating Johnson's 7.184 at 187.47 on his Snap-on Tools Suzuki.

Hines beat the current category points leader, Matt Smith and the Torco Racing Fuel Buell, in Round Two. Hines turned in a 7.018 at 188.81 over Smith's 7.025 at 186.90. Krawiec beat Chris Rivas in the second round. Krawiec's 7.054 at 187.65 beat Rivas' 7.189 at 168.35 on his Torco Buell.

Hines beat Peggy Llewellyn in the semifinals with a better reaction time. Hines left the starting line in .039 while Llewellyn left at .076. It mattered at the finish line. Hines' E.T. was slower, but earned the win light because of his quicker start. Hines went 7.048 at 186.18 to beat Llewellyn's 7.039 at 187.50 on her Klement Motorsports Buell.

Krawiec earned a trip to the finals by doing his job on the starting line too. His semifinal opponent, Hector Arana, fouled at the starting line and handed the win to Krawiec -- who left on time.

Hines and Krawiec's first meeting in the final round ended with a win for Hines. Hines went 7.009 at 188.20, beating Krawiec's 7.077 at 183.94.

"The bike went perfectly straight down the track all weekend," Hines said. "We even found a few things before the final round that had been slowing us down all day and that helped us pick up four-hundredths of a second.

"The final was a heads up race between two teammates. He beat me in the second round at Sonoma by out-running me and cutting a better light. This was payback. It's fun racing your teammate because you know the team is going to win either way. But it seemed like it took forever to get to the finish line. But now we're even, 1-1 for the season."

While Hines, the 2005 runner-up at Brainerd, has been to this event several times, it was Krawiec's first time making a pass at Brainerd International Raceway. The track, Krawiec said, was only half the fun.

"It was just a great weekend all around," Krawiec said. "Not only did I get to another final round, but I finally went to the campground that is so appropriately named 'the zoo' here in Brainerd. This has to be one of the most interesting and unique places that we race at and now I know why everyone talks about this event so much. We went out to the campground, met and mingled with a lot of fans and just had a great time. There is such a positive, fun vibe here and it made for an even better weekend."

The next NHRA event featuring the Pro Stock Motorcycle class is the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Aug. 16-19. It's the last race before the Countdown points are reset for the top eight racers in each professional category.

"The more runs I make on the bike, the more comfortable I get," Krawiec said. "That just gives me and the team more confidence. The better we do, the more excited I get about going to the next race. I really think this team has come around in the second half of the season and it shows. Hopefully the momentum will carry both Andrew and I into the Countdown."

Hines said the team has been working to be in a position to win rounds on a regular basis.

"We have our combination together and we finally feel like we're on track now," Hines said. "We struggled a bit at the beginning of the season and now we're producing career-best 60-foot times. The bikes are easier to ride when they leave the starting line so well and that's the key to winning races -- making nice, clean passes. Hopefully that won't change anytime soon."

-credit: v&h

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Gann , Peggy Llewellyn , Chris Rivas , Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , Steve Johnson , Eddie Krawiec