BRAINERD, Minn. (August 15, 2010) – Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines earned a number-one seed in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship drag racing playoffs with a win in the final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Hines rode a Harley-Davidson® V-Rod® to defeat Suzuki Extended Protection rider Jim Underdahl in the final. It was the second-straight event win for Hines, his fourth of the season, and the 22nd of his career.
Hines took the number-one Countdown seed away from Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana. Arana led Hines by 60 points coming into Brainerd, but lost to Hines in the second round of eliminations. Hines gained bonus points on Arana by winning all three rounds of qualifying for the event, as Arana qualified eighth, and ended the regular season with 908 points to 890 for Arana. After the class points are re-set for the Countdown, Hines will hold a 30-point lead over number-two seed Arana heading into the first round of the six-event Countdown, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.
“We’d been eyeing that number one spot until a few races ago, when Hector’s lead was 143 points and then we almost wrote it off,” said Hines, who is a three-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. “But the team worked really hard and we found a little more performance. This was the perfect race to take the lead away from Arana. It’s his sponsor’s race, it’s the last race before the countdown, and we beat him in eliminations. This really gives us some momentum towards a championship.”
Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Eddie Krawiec finished the regular season with 597 points and locked up the number-six Countdown position at Brainerd. He’ll start the countdown 70 points behind Hines.
“I think we’ve got a fair shot at the title,” said Krawiec, who won the championship in 2008 from the seventh seed in the Countdown. “I think anything can happen. You have to have a consistent motorcycle and be on your game. But this year we have six Countdown races instead of the five we had in 2008, so that gives us even more opportunity.”
Hines secured the number-one spot in qualifying with a 6.915-second blast in the final round on Saturday that set a new Pro Stock Motorcycle track record at Brainerd. Krawiec qualified fourth with an elapsed time (ET) of 6.988 seconds.
Hines advanced through the first two rounds on Sunday on red-light fouls by his competitors. In the first round, Fast Lane Sports Suzuki rider Buddy Robinson left 0.170 early, and the Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod carried Hines to a 6.904 ET to re-set his track ET record. In round two, Arana left 0.002 seconds early to give an automatic win to Hines, and an opportunity to grab the number-one Countdown seed. In round three, Hines won with a 6.928 ET as Coffman Tank Truck Buell rider Angie Smith rolled off the throttle mid-run and posted a 9.033 ET.
In the final, Hines used a 0.029-second reaction time and 6.941 ET to score a decisive win over Minnesota native Underdahl, who made a 0.065/7.012 run.
“If you qualify number one you want to have a consistent bike and we had that today,” said Hines. “I would say that this is the strongest my bike has been all season, and it’s probably the best V-Rod I’ve had to race in years. The bike is great, my confidence is high, and we are ready for the Countdown.”
Krawiec lost to Lincoln Tech Suzuki rider Steve Johnson in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
“My Harley was great all weekend, and then I lost traction at the start in the first round and spun the tire,” said Krawiec. “Our tune-up was just too aggressive for the track. We can’t afford those mistakes in the Countdown.”
Entering the first round of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown, Hines will lead the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with 2110 points. Only the top 10 points earners in the class will take part in the playoffs, and their points are reset to within 10 of one another with the exception of the points leader, who receives a 30-point advantage over second place. The nine other riders eligible to race for the championship in the final six races are seeded in this order, separated by 10 points: 2. Arana, 3. Michael Phillips (Racers Edge Suzuki), 4. Matt Smith (Al-Anabi Racing Buell), 5. Johnson, 6. Krawiec, 7. LE Tonglet (Suzuki), 8. David Hope (VRoom Racing Buell), 9. Karen Stoffer (Geico Suzuki), 10. Craig Treble (Pistonator Suzuki).
The next Pro Stock Motorcycle event on the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule is the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, Sept. 1-6, at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, Ind.
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The Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Pro Stock Motorcycle team is sponsored by Matco Tools, Dunlop and S100.