Indy ORP: Vance and Hines preview

SCREAMIN' EAGLE'S HINES AND KRAWIEC SET WINNING GOALS FOR ROUND TWO OF COUNTDOWN NHRA's Longest Running Event Kicks off in Indianapolis MILWAUKEE (Aug. 27, 2007) -- This year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be unlike any other in NHRA history...

NHRA's Longest Running Event Kicks off in Indianapolis

MILWAUKEE (Aug. 27, 2007) -- This year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be unlike any other in NHRA history and Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson riders Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec know what's on the line.

The longest running event in NHRA history has a new twist this year. As if enduring five rounds of qualifying, a bonus event and a bigger field than any other race throughout the season, the racers now have one more thing to worry about: keeping their position in the Countdown to the Championship.

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 this weekend's U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. You can't even be in the hunt for a championship if you aren't in the top eight.

Pro Stock Motorcycles, however, might be under more stress than any other category. The top eight riders have just three races (the U.S. Nationals, the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals in Memphis and the O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Dallas) to qualify for the third and final round of the Countdown (the other pro categories will have four races). The third round of the Countdown will feature the top four riders and they will have two events (Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.) to win the 2007 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.

It all starts with the U.S. Nationals. Professional qualifying begins Friday and wraps up on Sunday. Final eliminations are on Monday.

"Everyone is going to bring out their best stuff because not only is this the biggest and most prestigious race of the year, but also we are all going to try and make the final four cut," Hines said. "Right now we don't know what other teams have in the bank and I think we're going to see some head-turning performances this weekend from the entire category."

This will be the first time that Krawiec will be going to the U.S. Nationals with a chance of not only qualifying, but winning rounds too.

"This is the most historic race on the tour and I'm looking forward to going there with such a strong team," Krawiec said. "I've been there three or four times before but have never qualified. But I've also never had a team like I do now. I have a great motorcycle under me and a great team that is going to be ready for anything and that makes this year's U.S. Nationals even more exciting."

Hines and Krawiec each earned one of the eight Countdown spots and will be aiming for the next round. But first, they must qualify for the U.S. Nationals and Hines must prepare for another Ringer's Gloves Pro Bike Battle bonus event.

The bonus event features the top eight riders in qualifying over the past calendar year. Hines is the defending winner of the bonus event. He also won it in 2004. This is the first season Krawiec has raced in a full season of NHRA events, so Krawiec didn't have enough races to qualify for this year's bonus race.

"It's always a great weekend," Hines said. "I'm really looking forward to the Ringer's Gloves bonus race because it's just a fun race-within-a-race. Our team has had a lot of success in the bonus race and I hope it continues this season."

Hines said he has done a few things differently in order to prepare for this season's U.S. Nationals. The Vance & Hines Motorsports team is located in Brownsburg, Ind., not more than a mile from the track. The team moved there from Trinidad, Colo., in 2004.

"We've been lucky enough to be able to do a lot of testing at the track this year," Hines said. "Last year I fouled at the starting line and just threw the race away. I really felt like I had a bike that was capable of winning the race and I blew it. So I want to make up for that this year and the testing has helped me prepare for the race."

Krawiec is just looking forward to the possibility of being one of the elite group of racers to have claimed victory at the U.S. Nationals.

"This is obviously going to be an exciting weekend for me because going to the U.S. Nationals is a highlight for every racer but to go knowing it's your team's home race makes it even better," Krawiec said. "I can't wait to be a representative of the Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson groups and go after the win.

"It's going to be really cool being out there knowing I have a shot of winning such an incredible event. The competition is going to be at its best and so will we."

-credit: v&h

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Series NHRA
Drivers Andrew Hines , Eddie Krawiec