Sonoma: Vance & Hines final report

KRAWIEC MAKES FIRST PRO STOCK BIKE FINAL ROUND APPEARANCE Runner-Up Finish Moves Krawiec into Top 10 in Point Standings SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2007) -- Eddie Krawiec earned his first Pro Stock Motorcycle runner-up finish the hard way Sunday at...

Runner-Up Finish Moves Krawiec into Top 10 in Point Standings

SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2007) -- Eddie Krawiec earned his first Pro Stock Motorcycle runner-up finish the hard way Sunday at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals. It was just his ninth appearance on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod and his first event at Infineon Raceway, but it didn't come easy.

"From the very beginning of the weekend when we unloaded the V-Rod we were working on it, just fine-tuning to make it more competitive as the weekend progressed," Krawiec said. "We didn't have any down time but this Screamin' Eagle team works so well together that we found our way to the final round. This crew makes it possible for me to be calm and cool and I felt comfortable on the bike all weekend."

Krawiec -- the newest member of the Screamin' Eagle team -- has qualified for nine NHRA national events in his career. All of those have come this season. The final round appearance was especially important this weekend because of the NHRA's new point system, the Countdown to the Championship.

Krawiec was in 12th place before Infineon's race, 58 points out of eighth place. Those top eight riders will be the only riders able to compete for the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship when the Countdown to the Championship point standings are readjusted before the start of the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind., on Aug. 29.

The final round appearance bounced Krawiec into 10th place, just 29 points away from eighth place. Riders have two races left before Indy to get into the top eight.

"Believe it or not, I felt very comfortable," Krawiec said. "I didn't put any added pressure on myself and I just kept thinking about how much fun I was having and how much closer we were going to be to the top eight. That's exciting.

"Getting into the top 10 is, out of anything, the most crucial. It's going to be a battle for the sixth through eight spots and I'm glad we're going to be in that points fight."

Krawiec beat Antron Brown in the first round, recording a 6.967-second pass at 190.86 mph to top Brown's 7.077 at 188.07 on his U.S. Army Suzuki. Teammate Andrew Hines beat Geno Scali in Round One with a career-best E.T. 6.902 pass at 192.93 to Scali's 7.046 at 189.31 on his Performance Machine Suzuki.

That's when Screamin' Eagle teammates Krawiec and Hines met up in the second round. Krawiec bested Hines with a career-best E.T. of 6.946 at 192.28 over Hines' 7.044 at 192.96.

Krawiec beat Steve Johnson in the semifinal round with a 7.014 at 189.79 over Johnson's 7.057 at 188.52 on his Snap-on Tools Suzuki. Krawiec lost to Matt Smith and the Torco/Skull Gear Buell team in the final. Smith posted a 6.992 at 189.10 over Krawiec's 7.090 at 190.16.

"It was such a great weekend for the Screamin' Eagle team because Andrew made some passes down the track and Eddie made it to his first final round," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "Even more importantly, Eddie is getting closer to being in the top eight and being able to compete for one of the Countdown positions.

"It was great to see Eddie so excited, and the team did a great job putting two V-Rods on the track were capable of winning rounds."

Hines was still pleased with the weekend, even if he came up short in his quest for another victory at Infineon Raceway. He's earned one victory (2005), two No. 1 qualifying awards (2005, '06) and has set the national record there as well (6.968 seconds, 2005).

"The bike was so quick this weekend that it just made it so fun to ride," Hines said. "We were running well on the first day of qualifying and then we stumbled on something on Saturday and it worked out even better for the V-Rods. We just barely missed the No. 1 qualifier but we still felt good about our qualifying numbers."

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class has one weekend off before taking on Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn., on Aug. 10-13.

Both Krawiec and Hines said the weekend in Sonoma is going to make the rest of the season more exciting.

"It felt great to get back into the 6-second performance range and I came out of here with a career-best E.T.," Krawiec said. "Our performance is picking up and the team is doing well and I think we're building great momentum that will carry on for the rest of the season."

Hines agreed.

"We know we have motorcycles with the potential to win any round," Hines said. "We have quick bikes and that makes it easier to ride knowing you have a shot of winning rounds. The beginning of the season when we weren't doing very well, it was rough going from race to race. But know it's really enjoyable and it makes me anxious to get to the next event."

-credit: v&h

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Geno Scali , Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , Steve Johnson , Eddie Krawiec