Krawiec wins Bike Battle in Indianapolis

Eddie Krawiec pocketed the first big payout during the 54th Annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, winning the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The Bike Battle is a Pro Stock Motorcycle bonus event headlining...

Eddie Krawiec pocketed the first big payout during the 54th Annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, winning the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The Bike Battle is a Pro Stock Motorcycle bonus event headlining The U.S. Nationals Saturday schedule. Headlining NHRA buzz however was the announcement of Alan Johnson's departure from Don Schumacher Racing in 2009.

Larry Dixon, Tony Pedregon, Allen Johnson and Hector Arana sit atop The U.S. Nationals ladders in the NHRA PowerAde Pro divisions after three of five qualification rounds are complete.

Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers have been accumulating points since the 2007 Indianapolis race with the top eight riders earning a spot in The Bike Battle. Riders in this year's special event were Chip Ellis, Matt Smith, Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec, Angelle Sampey, Karen Stoffer, Chris Rivas and Matt Guidera.

Krawiec hoisted a $25,000 check in victory lane after defeating his teammate Hines in an all-Harley Davidson final round. The Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle team enjoyed taking up the entire starting line with silver and orange, but the race was less than spectacular, ending before it started when Hines left too early and lit up the red light. Krawiec recorded a winning pass of 7.060 seconds at 188.15 MPH.

"This is huge for our team," Krawiec shared. "Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 105th anniversary this weekend, so this couldn't have come at a better time.

"Two years ago, I was an unknown and Terry Vance and Byron Hines took a chance on me," Krawiec shared. "They've made me feel like family and I'm so glad that I was finally able to pay them back with a victory."

The weekend is far from over for Krawiec. Monday's U.S. Nationals is the biggest drag race of the year and often the most significant win of a driver's career. The NHRA is offering Krawiec the icing on the cake, a $10,000 bonus, if he can double up and win his first ever U.S. Nationals Wally on Monday.

"I know that I still haven't won a national event, but I'm not disappointed," Krawiec said. "I'm good friends with Reggie Showers, and he's been a big inspiration to me. He had never won a race and then a few years ago [2003], he came here to Indy and won the battle and then won the U.S. Nationals on Monday. If I can do that, I'll be really happy."

Runner-up Hines still added another $10,000 to the payday for the team based just two miles down the road in Brownsburg. Ellis and Smith collected $6,000 for their semi-final appearances while the other four competitors took home $3,500 for making The Bike Battle field.

Dixon holds the coveted number one position on the Top Fuel ladder after a 3.841 second run Saturday night. Cory McClenathan, Hillary Will, Brandon Bernstein and JR Todd complete the tentative top five. David Grubnic, Doug Kalitta and Morgan Lucas, who are embattled for the final two Top Fuel spots in the NHRA PowerAde Countdown to the Championship, sit in positions 8, 11 and 15 respectively.

Pedregon piloted his Funny Car to the top of the field with a 4.073 second Low E.T. run. His teammate and brother Cruz Pedregon was second quickest followed by Gary Densham, Mike Neff and Robert Hight. John Force, who missed the field last year, sits in the 18th spot with just two qualifying runs remaining.

Johnson is currently number one on the Pro Stock ladder with his Low E.T. 6.657 seconds run. Mike Edwards, Jason Line, Greg Anderson and Warren Johnson round out the top five. After three runs, Greg Stanfield is on the outside looking in, especially significant since Stanfield is embattled with Warren Johnson and Ron Krisher for the final two Pro Stock Championship playoff spots.

Arana leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with a 6.954 seconds Low E.T. Smith, Rivas, Hines, Steve Johnson and Krawiec each had sub-7 second runs. Karen Stoffer, Guidera and Peggy Llewellyn need a quick run on Sunday to break into the top sixteen.

Alan Johnson, the most decorated Top Fuel crew chief in NHRA history, made the announcement today that he will leave Don Schumacher Racing at the end of this year to field a two-car team (top fuel and funny car) through an alliance with Al-Anabi Racing of Qatar. Johnson tuned Tony Schumacher to the last four Top Fuel titles and the current Top Fuel Championship points lead.

"It's widely known that my goal for quite some time now has been to become a team owner again and this is my best opportunity to achieve that goal," Johnson said. "We look forward to our relationship with Al-Anabi Racing and the people of Qatar.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful experience with the U.S. Army race team," Johnson continued. "I wouldn't change the past five years for anything. My focus for the remainder of the season will be to put forth my best effort to win the fifth consecutive championship for the U.S. Army, Tony Schumacher and DSR."

At the forefront of this partnership is His Highness Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani, whose goal is to promote awareness of motorsports in the nation of Qatar. Al-Anabi Racing already co-owns Awesome Al Anabi which fields Pro Modified cars in IHRA and NHRA competition.

Tony Schumacher shared his thoughts on Johnson's decision, saying "Obviously we're all disappointed to see Alan go, but at the same time we're happy for him that he was able to achieve his goal of becoming a team owner once again. We certainly wish him the best of luck."

The Sarge continued, "The U.S. Army team will clearly be starting a new chapter next season with the new crew chief, but before that happens we're all committed to winning a fifth consecutive world championship."

Schumacher sits at number 14 on the Top Fuel ladder. He'll have two opportunities on Sunday to improve that position. Qualifying in the PowerAde Pro divisions continues tomorrow starting at 11 am.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Reggie Showers , Peggy Llewellyn , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Greg Stanfield , Karen Stoffer , Brandon Bernstein , Allen Johnson , Morgan Lucas , Jason Line , Andrew Hines , Steve Johnson , Don Schumacher , Chip Ellis , Robert Hight , Matt Guidera , Hillary Will , Angelle Sampey , Eddie Krawiec , Mike Edwards , Mike Neff