Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines rider Ed Krawiec advanced to the third round of Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations at the Fram / Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway. Krawiec got a win over the series points leader Karen Stoffer in round two, and narrowed the gap between himself and Stoffer to just five points with two events left before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Krawiec qualified second aboard a Harley-Davidson V-Rod® with an ET (elapsed time) of 6.882 seconds, missing the top qualifying spot by just 0.001 second when Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. made a 6.881-second run in the last round on Saturday. Andrew Hines qualified the second Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines V-Rod® third with a time of 6.915 seconds.
On Sunday, Krawiec opened eliminations with a win over Kuryakyn Buell rider Chip Ellis, and set the top Pro Stock Motorcycle speed for the event at 196.24 mph. In round two, Stoffer left 0.054 seconds early aboard the Geico Suzuki to hand the win to Krawiec. In the semi-final round, however, it was Krawiec fouling at the line to give a win to Michael Phillips and The Edge Suzuki.
“I thought after the second round I had the bike to beat here today,” said Krawiec, “but I messed up at the line and let the bike creep just a little. That’s too bad because we had some awesome Harley-Davidson motorcycles today, just top of the class. Now it’s going to be a dog fight between me and Stoffer for the top spot in the Countdown.”
Hines got a win in the first round on Sunday when Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana fouled at the start. Hines had a 0.112-second reaction time and 6.918 ET in the second round, and lost to Phillips, who left in 0.004 seconds and won with a 6.947 ET.
“I had a little lapse in concentration at the line, but that was the quickest ET of the round,” said Hines. “We’ve got my bike running really well now and that’s a real confidence booster going into Brainerd, where I won last year. I really feel like we’ve turned the corner on the tune-up for my V-Rod.”
Nitrofish Suzuki rider LE Tonglet defeated Phillips in the final round to win Sunday’s eliminations.
There are two events left on the Pro Stock Motorcycle schedule before the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin. Points then reset as the top-ten riders battle over the final six events of the season for the championship. The rider leading in points as the Countdown begins is awarded 20 bonus points, for a 30-point lead over second place.
After eight of 16 scheduled Pro Stock Motorcycle events, the race for the top seed in the Countdown is coming down to Stoffer and Krawiec. Stoffer has 653 points to 648 for Krawiec. Tonglet moves up to third place following Sonoma, with 567 points, and still has a shot at the top seed. Hines is in fourth place with 495 points. Matt Smith, who lost in the first round at Sonoma, is fourth with 493 points.
The Pro Stock Motorcycles will next race at the 30th annual Lucas Oil Nationals, Aug. 18-21, at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. The Countdown playoffs begin following the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Aug. 31-Sept. 5, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.