Brainerd: Vance & Hines preview

SCREAMIN' EAGLE TEAM HITS THE ROAD FOR STURGIS BIKE RALLY AND BRAINERD NHRA EVENT Hines and Krawiec Ready to Meet Fans and Race for Minnesota Trophy MILWAUKEE (Aug. 7, 2007) -- Things are going well when you know that your schedule includes a...

Hines and Krawiec Ready to Meet Fans and Race for Minnesota Trophy

MILWAUKEE (Aug. 7, 2007) -- Things are going well when you know that your schedule includes a trip to the famous Sturgis, S.D. Rally before you head back to the race track to ride your Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod. That's exactly what Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec have in store this week and they couldn't be happier.

Hines and Krawiec will join hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts for the 67th annual Sturgis, S.D., Rally. The drag racers will participate in a number of activities including a Harley-Davidson sponsored ride, before taking a quick plane ride to Brainerd, Minn., on Thursday. Qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway starts Friday.

While Hines has made the Sturgis-Brainerd shuffle three times before, this is Krawiec's first visit to both venues. The New Jersey native joined the Screamin' Eagle team prior to this season and has anxiously conquered plenty of "firsts" throughout the season.

"This is another new thing for me but I have to admit I've been looking forward to going to Sturgis and Brainerd for the first time for a while now," Krawiec said. "I've come to realize that the Harley-Davidson crowd is incredibly diverse and they really are the most loyal group I've ever come across. I can't wait to hang out with them at the biggest rally before going to Brainerd.

"I've heard so much about Brainerd and how people camp out for days just to get in the campground for the race. Everyone has said that the Brainerd crowd not only knows racing but they also know how to make the event even more fun. All I have heard about is the campground and I can't wait to check it out."

Hines -- the 2005 runner-up at Brainerd -- is in third place after winning two races in three final rounds so far this season. Not bad for a guy who started the year off with two consecutive first round losses. After the first two races, the three-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion was in 13th place of the standings.

The Screamin' Eagle team has come a long way since then, making being at the race track all the more desirable these days.

"I'm looking forward to getting back on the motorcycle," Hines said. "We know the V-Rods are capable of going out there and running some good numbers. Brainerd is just another track we can go out and have fun at."

But first, the Screamin' Eagle racers will be in Sturgis.

"The people who go to Sturgis are so enthusiastic about motorcycles," Hines said. "It's nice that we can go and meet Harley fans outside of the race track. They have been there for our team and our sponsor. They are die-hard fans and whether you are up or down, they support you no matter what. They love it when we win, but they are loyal supporters even when we're not winning so it's great to go and meet those fans every year."

While Hines is comfortably in third place, Krawiec needs to gain some points this weekend if he wants to have a shot at moving into the second round of the Countdown to the Championship points format.

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. Krawiec is in 10th place with two races left before the points are realigned.

"I'm absolutely thinking about being in the top eight," Krawiec said. "That would be such an amazing feat if I could get into the top eight in my first season of Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. The field is tough this year so it's making our jobs more difficult. I think this could be the most equalized field in Pro Stock Motorcycle history. It's just a phenomenal group of racers."

Before Krawiec can worry about gaining ground in the point standings, there is fun to be had in Sturgis. Krawiec and Hines will spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Sturgis, cheering on the AHDRA's Screamin' Eagle Performance Parts Race at the Rally exhibition drag race before taking off for Brainerd on Thursday.

"Being able to meet fans outside the race track is one of the things I look forward to the most," Krawiec said. "They are the ones that make it possible for us to race. They support Harley-Davidson and in return the race team and we are that team. The fans make it possible for us to race."

Hines is just happy his streak of Sturgis visits continued this season.

"Sturgis is a great event and it's something we mark our calendars for every year," Hines said. "Everyone there is excited about racing and motorcycles. It's even more fun to hang out at the race track without any pressure."

Qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will start Friday with two sessions at 2:45 and 5:30 p.m., continuing Saturday at 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

-credit: v&h

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Series NHRA
Drivers Andrew Hines , Eddie Krawiec