Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines rider Ed Krawiec widened his Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead with his seventh win of the season, defeating his teammate Andrew Hines in the final round of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. It was the fifth all-Harley final of the season, and Krawiec won for the fourth time when Hines left the starting line early.
The result puts the Harley-Davidson team back on track after its 13-racing winning streak was snapped last weekend in Charlotte, where both Hines and Krawiec lost in the semi-final round.
“Our team focus is back on winning races, rather than on the winning streak,” said Krawiec, the defending NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, who debuted a Hard Candy Pink Flake paint scheme and leathers at Gateway that he will run during the next two races in October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The Screamin’ Eagle team really had to work hard with my Harley-Davidson® V-Rod® all weekend after we had transmission trouble in the fourth round of qualifying. The transmission skipped a gear again in the first round today and we would have lost if my opponent had not fouled. The third engine of the weekend got me to the finals.”
Krawiec now holds a 33-point lead over Hines after three of six races in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Krawiec qualified third for the event with an Elapsed Time of 6.839 seconds. Hines qualified fourth at 6.862. Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. set a new track record of 6.809 seconds to lead all qualifiers.
On a day when red-light fouls for leaving the starting line early would decide eight of 15 races, Krawiec opened Sunday eliminations with red-light wins over the Steve Johnson Racing Suzuki and Kuryakyn Buell rider Chip Ellis. Hines defeated Suzuki Extended Protection rider Jim Underdahl in round one, and advanced on a red light by Geico Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer in round two.
That set up a semi-final showdown between the two Harley-Davidson riders and the Lucas Oil Buell team of Arana Jr. and Hector Arana Sr., third and fourth in points, respectively, behind Krawiec and Hines. Hines won with an ET of 6.874 to the 7.013 of Arana Jr., while Krawiec defeated Arana Sr. 6.852 to 6.892.
In the final, Hines left the line 0.036 seconds early to hand the automatic win to Krawiec.
“We both knew we’d need to go for it on the tree, and I had a 0.006, which is cutting it close,” said Krawiec, who now has 18 career victories. “Beating both of the Aranas in the semi-final really helps our points situation, but I think the top four riders are still within range. If one of us lost in the first round and they won, it would be really tight again. There are still three races left. If I have this cushion after Reading next week, I’ll be happy.”
Hines also used three different engines during the weekend.
“I lost an engine in the second round of qualifying, and we were behind the eight ball on our tune up all weekend,” said Hines. “We still need to get a little more performance out of my V-Rod, but it was a good effort to get both Screamin’ Eagle bikes in the final. In the final I was trying to get a little clever at the line and had some brain fade and blew the light. Next time I’m against Ed I’ll just line up and race.”
Krawiec leads all Pro Stock Motorcycle riders with 2415 points. Hines is second with 2382 points. Arana Jr. is third and 109 points behind Krawiec with 2306 points. Arana Sr. is 148 points back with 2267, and Stoffer is in fifth place with 2229 points.
The Pro Stock Motorcycles will be back in action Oct. 4-7 at the 28th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.