SCREAMIN' EAGLE VANCE & HINES MOTORSPORTS TEAM AIMS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN IN MEMPHIS NHRA Riders Have Two More Chances to Advance in Countdown MILWAUKEE (Sept. 11, 2007) -- Andrew Hines and the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson...
SCREAMIN' EAGLE VANCE & HINES MOTORSPORTS TEAM AIMS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN IN MEMPHIS
NHRA Riders Have Two More Chances to Advance in Countdown
MILWAUKEE (Sept. 11, 2007) -- Andrew Hines and the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod team have learned to love Memphis Motorsports Park.
Hines is the two-time defending champion at the O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals and is aiming to make it three in a row when qualifying for the 13th of 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events kicks off on Friday.
Of course, he knows that won't come easy. But still, he also knows if anyone has a chance of winning this weekend's race in Memphis, the Screamin' Eagle team has as good a shot as any other team in the pits.
"Each year is a new season and just because we won last year doesn't mean we deserve to have anything handed to us this year," Hines said. "You need the right bike at the right time and we have had some success in Memphis so we have good data to start with. It gives you confidence knowing you won last year, but we have to work just as hard to even have a shot at winning it again."
And this year, there is more pressure to win than ever. This is the first season of the new Countdown to the Championship points system implemented by NHRA officials. The playoff system breaks the season into three sections. All racers competed to earn the top eight spots (Round Two of the Countdown) before the Sept. 3 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
Now those eight racers are competing for the top four positions in the point standings. Pro Stock Motorcycles, however, might be under more stress than any other category. The top eight riders will have a total of just three races (the U.S. Nationals, the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals and the O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Dallas) to qualify for the third and final round of the Countdown (the other pro categories 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.
With three wins in four final round appearances this season Hines is in the coveted fourth place position going into the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals while his Screamin' Eagle teammate -- Eddie Krawiec -- is in seventh place.
Krawiec has earned two final round appearances in his first full season of professional NHRA racing and is still searching for his first career victory.
"We're still in the hunt for one of the final four Countdown spots," Krawiec, a New Jersey native, said. "We didn't have a great weekend in Indianapolis, but that's the beauty of racing -- we can move on to the next event and try again. I've been looking forward to going to Memphis because I think it's going to be a great place to rebound from our Indy performance. This Vance & Hines team has proven that they know how to win there and I'm anxious to get back on the bike and make some great passes down that track."
Hines said the team is the reason he has been in contention for a Countdown spot all season.
"I'm excited about taking my Screamin' Eagle V-Rod to the next track," Hines said. "The team has been working so hard all season and we're not going to change that now. We aim to be the most consistent team we can and that's something we want to improve every weekend. That's how you win."
Krawiec agrees that the team can make anyone more confident.
"This will be the first time that I will race at Memphis and I have a team behind me that knows how to win in general and has great experience at Memphis specifically," Krawiec said. "We're going to Memphis with our focus and attention on winning rounds. I'm glad I have this group working on my bike."
Qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals begins Friday with qualifying at 3:45 and 6:15 p.m., continuing at noon and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Monday.