CONCORD, N.C. (March 29, 2010) – Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines riders Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines qualified Harley-Davidson® V-Rod® motorcycles for the Pro Stock Motorcycle elimination rounds at the Inaugural Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway. The event was the first NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event to incorporate a four-lane format in both qualifying and eliminations, rather than the traditional two-lane format. This put four cars or motorcycles on the starting line for each round of eliminations, with the first two across the finish line advancing to the next round. Hines and Krawiec were both eliminated in the first round on Sunday. The event was then suspended until Monday due to heavy rains. Al-Anabi Racing Buell rider Matt Smith won the final round.
Smith was the top qualifier for the event with a run of 6.875 seconds at 193.18 mph, setting a new track elapsed time (ET) record for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Krawiec qualified second at 6.882/195.42, setting a new track speed record for the class. Hines was the number-three qualifier, with a 6.883/195.11 pass.
In the first round of eliminations, Hines (0.050 reaction time/7.090 ET) finished third behind Suzuki riders Steve Johnson (0.036/7.041) and Michael Phillips (0.126/6.973). Coffman Tank Trucks Buell rider Angie Smith (0.112/7.955) was fourth.
“I had a good light but my bike bogged at the start, and I didn’t have the power to make it up,” said Hines. “Since the end of last season, we’ve been moving some weight around on the bike to try and improve our 60-foot time, and the changes we made may not be the way to go. We need to do some more testing before the next race so we can get a better baseline.”
The next foursome included Krawiec, Buell rider LE Tonglet, MB Machining Buell rider Mike Berry and Rum Bum Racing Buell rider Shawn Gann. Gann “timed out” during staging – he failed to take a position at the starting line on time – which automatically triggered the starting lights. The other three riders were unprepared to start, and Krawiec was the last off the line, with a 1.754 reaction time and an ET of 6.944. Tonglet (0.427/7.037) won the round, ahead of Berry (0.905/7.086).
“None of us had run up our engines yet, so we were not even ready to dump the clutch and go,” said Krawiec. “So the first one to get his bike revved up was going to win. It caught me off-guard, because in a two-lane race, when I see that the racer next to me has timed out, I have automatically won. So much of what we do in a drag race is almost instinctive, and it was very hard to make that mental adjustment for one event like this four-wide.”
The race at zMax Raceway is the only four-wide event on the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, and both Hines and Krawiec are glad it is behind them.
“I think four-wide drag racing is not the way to go,” said Hines. “I think the NHRA has thought of about 95 percent of the scenarios that could happen, but not all of them. We had some feedback from fans that it was too hard to follow. I think drag racing should stay two-wide, winner take all.”
Krawiec, who won the opening round of the 2010 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle season in Gainesville, Fla., on March 14, thinks four-wide racing will require racers to re-educate themselves.
“I guess it’s interesting to watch, but it’s really difficult for the racers,” said Krawiec. “It will be a learning curve for us if they continue. We had to do one event and see what the problems would be, and then get it right. But I’m not a fan of it.”
Following two rounds of the 17-race 2010 NHRA Pro Stock schedule, Buell rider Hector Arana leads in points with 175. Krawiec and Smith are tied for second place with 160 points. Gann is fourth with 129 points, and Johnson is fifth with 127 points. Hines is in 10th place with 94 points.
The next Pro Stock Motorcycle event on the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule is the 23rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, April 9-11, at Houston Raceway Park in Houston, Texas.
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The Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Pro Stock Motorcycle team is sponsored by Matco Tools, Dunlop and S100.