SCREAMIN' EAGLE NHRA DRAG RACING TEAM LEAVES MILE-HIGH NATIONALS READY TO GET BACK TO SEA-LEVEL TRACKS Krawiec Gains a Round on Countdown Competition DENVER (July 16, 2007) -- Eddie Krawiec earned a round victory Sunday on his Screamin' ...
SCREAMIN' EAGLE NHRA DRAG RACING TEAM LEAVES MILE-HIGH NATIONALS READY TO GET BACK TO SEA-LEVEL TRACKS
Krawiec Gains a Round on Countdown Competition
DENVER (July 16, 2007) -- Eddie Krawiec earned a round victory Sunday on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Denver's Bandimere Speedway.
Teammate Andrew Hines posted his third opening round loss of the season at the only altitude track on the NHRA POWERade pro circuit. The loss kept Hines from successfully defending his 2006 victory here.
The 24-year-old three-time defending NHRA champion said it didn't matter where he lost -- a loss is frustrating no matter where the location.
"It doesn't matter if I'm at the U.S. Nationals or any other race on the circuit," Hines said. "It's always disappointing if you go out early. I treat them all the same and want to win them all and it's unfortunate we couldn't defend last year's win."
Krawiec beat Peggy Llewellyn in the first round. Krawiec turned in a 7.405-second pass at 181.57 seconds on his V-Rod while Llewellyn fouled at the starting line on her Karl & Kim Klement Racing Buell.
It was Krawiec's fourth round win of the season and second consecutive second round appearance.
"With the way the point system is set up now, we're always counting points," Krawiec said. "Only the top eight riders get to run for the championship when Indy (the U.S. Nationals) rolls around and winning a round today helped us close the gap between us and that coveted eighth place."
Hines posted a first round loss against Karen Stoffer and the Geico Suzuki team. Hines fouled at the starting line, losing to Stoffer for the second time this season.
Hines qualified in the No. 2 position with a 7.382 pass at 180.55 while Krawiec qualified eighth with a 7.405 at 182.28. It was the first time since the season opener in Gainesville, Fla., that Krawiec qualified in the top half of the 16-bike elimination field.
"I thought we both qualified well, not to mention how nice it was to be in the top half of the field and go into Sunday with lane choice," Krawiec said. "I think both bikes were consistently making respectable passes in qualifying. This was my first time to race at such a high-altitude track and I'm still amazed at how difficult it is to run our bikes up here."
Bandimere Speedway is the only high-altitude facility on the tour. While Krawiec knew the performance numbers would slow down, he never thought it would be more complicated than that.
"It's so much harder to race at altitude than it is to race at sea-level," Krawiec said. "Everything is so much slower, but the process of getting the bike down the track is still the same. Your routine is the same, but the process is slower and it breaks the rhythm that has been built up over the course of the first half of the season and it takes some getting used to. It was interesting and I'm glad we got a round win here under us today."
Hines graduated from Trinidad High School and the Vance & Hines Motorsports shop was located in Southern Colorado for several years. The Screamin' Eagle V-Rods were originally built at altitude. Still, Hines admits that he's anxious to get back to sea level.
"The good thing is that Denver is over with for the year and we are going to be racing at sea-level tracks," Hines said. "Denver is a great place and it's where my drag racing career started, but it is difficult for the teams to prepare completely different setups.
"This is normally the time of year that our team really starts to come together, so I'm anxious to go to the next stop on the tour."
Hines and Krawiec will next be joining the rest of the Pro Stock Motorcycle category at the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, July 27-29.
"The bikes are running strong and I'm very confident about what the team has been able to do to prepare us for race day," Hines said. "We're going from the slowest race tracks on the schedule to one of the fastest tracks on the schedule and I'm looking forward to the transition."