Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines advanced to the semi-final round in Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations at the AC Delco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The opening round of the Pro Stock Motorcycle schedule on the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series was also the competition debut of an all-new Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod® motorcycle in the hands of Hines and the defending NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, Screamin’ Eagle / Vance & Hines rider Eddie Krawiec. Krawiec advanced to the second round of eliminations.
“This was a good weekend for the Screamin’ Eagle team,” said Hines. “To come here with a new engine and a new motorcycle and make it to the semi-final round is nothing to sneeze at. I had seven green lights this weekend, which is great for my self-confidence.”
The 2009 Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod motorcycles raced by Hines and Krawiec are powered by a new fuel-injected V-Twin engine with four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshafts. The new engine is a response to a change in the Pro Stock Motorcycle rules, and replaces the two-valve/pushrod EFI V-Twin the team has used to win four NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championships since 2004. The motorcycle chassis were also revised to accommodate the new engine.
Hines was the number five qualifier for the Gainesville event with a run of 6.991 seconds at 188.62 mph. Krawiec qualified seventh with a 7.007/189.71 pass. NitroFish Suzuki rider Matt Smith was the top qualifier at 6.945/189.44.
Hines opened Sunday eliminations with a win over Rocklin Motorsports Buell® rider Matt Guidera, and won in round two when the NitroFish Buell ridden by Angie McBride broke at the starting line. Krawiec defeated MPR & Damn Sport Suzuki rider Michael Phillips in round one, but his 7.031-second pass in round two was not enough to beat the 6.942 run posted by Buell rider Hector Arana.
“Arana was fast out there today, and I knew I’d need a good light to beat him,” said Krawiec, who had an outstanding 0.013 reaction time. “It was good but it wasn’t enough today. We had a good weekend with the new Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod. We’ve got it hooking up better early in the run, and got some good data and set-up base line we can use to get it dialed in.”
Hines faced Smith in the semi-final round and left the line in 0.019 seconds to beat Smith’s 0.048 reaction time, but Hines’ 7.119-second pass was not enough to beat Smith’s 7.039-second run. Smith lost to Arana in the final round, 6.977 to 7.133.
“We had an electrical issue, but thought it was a fuel issue and went the wrong way with our tune-up today,” said Hines. “We’ll get that fixed for the next race. The new engine is really smooth, and gave us no service issues. It’s also easy on the valve train, and we used the same engines all weekend. It’s only going to get better for us this season.”
After one event on the 17-race 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock Motorcycle schedule, Arana has 117 points to lead the standings for the first time in his 19-year career. Smith is second with 98 points, followed by Hines in third with 74 points. Krawiec and Steve Johnson are tied for seventh with 53 points.
The next event on the 2009 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle schedule is the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals, March 27-29, in Houston.