It's almost time for NHRA's Countdown to the Championship. Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines is seeded second and has a solid chance to win it all.
Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines riders Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines will open the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs seeded first and second in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, as the field of 10 qualified riders was set during the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park.
In the first 12 events of the 2009 NRHA Full Throttle season, Krawiec, the defending Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, rode his Harley-Davidson V-Rod to eight final-round appearances and won four events to lead the series with 1,026 points. Hines has won twice so far this season, and came to Indy in second place with 837 points. The points totals for the top-ten riders in the standings will now reset for the five-event Countdown, with each rider separated by 10 points. Krawiec earns an additional 20 points for leading the series.
“Anything can happen once the Countdown starts,” said Krawiec, who was seeded seventh at the beginning of the 2008 Countdown and went on to win the championship. “We are just going to keep racing like we have all season, and go out there to win rounds.”
At the U.S Nationals, the NHRA also announced a new bonus points system that will offer pro teams opportunities to score points during qualifying sessions. The team in each category with the quickest elapsed time during each qualifying session will receive three bonus points, a potential total of 12 bonus points during the four rounds of qualifying. Teams with the second and third quickest elapsed times during each qualifying session will receive two and one bonus points, respectively.
“The new qualifying bonus system means it’s going to be important to be fast right off the truck,” said Krawiec. “It could really tighten the field, which is why it’s exciting for us to start the Countdown with a 20-point bonus for first place.”
During Saturday qualifying for the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Hines won the Ringer Gloves Pro Bike Battle, a bonus event that pays the winner $25,000. Hines defeated Steve Johnson, Krawiec and Hector Arana to win the event for the fourth time in his career, tying the mark set by his brother, Matt Hines. Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines riders have now won the last six Ringer Pro Bike Battle special events at the U.S. Nationals.
Hines qualified third for the U.S. Nationals with an elapsed time of 6.957 seconds. Krawiec qualified eighth at 7.018 seconds. Nitrofish.com Suzuki rider Matt Smith was the top qualifier with a run of 6.918 seconds. Both Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines riders lost in the first round of eliminations on Monday. Krawiec was defeated by Horne Racing Buell rider Doug Horne. Hines fouled at the starting line, handing a win to Team Scream Suzuki rider Craig Treble. The event was won by Arana, who defeated MPR/DAM Sport Suzuki rider Michael Phillips in the final round.
The 10 riders qualified for the Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship include: Krawiec (2110 points), Hines (2080), Arana (2070), Smith (2060), Horne (2050), Treble (2040), Michael Phillips (2030), Matt Guidera (2020), Shawn Gann (2010) and Karen Stoffer (2000).
The next Pro Stock Motorcycle event on the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule is the NHRA Carolinas Nationals, Sept. 17-20 at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C.