Krawiec wins NHRA drag championship

V-Rod rider wins title despite not winning an event

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Nov. 17, 2008
Ed Krawiec overcame a 20-point deficit to win the 2008 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing championship.

“We are really excited to bring the championship back home to Milwaukee,” says Krawiec. “I have to thank team owners Byron Hines and Terry Vance, my crew chief Matt Hines and my teammate Andrew Hines, and Anne Paluso and everyone at Harley Davidson. We won this championship with hard teamwork.”

The Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider entered the National Hot Rod Association’s finale, Nov. 16 at the Auto Club Raceway in Ponoma, Calif., trailing Nitro Fish Buell’s Matt Smith by 19 points. That deficit grew to 20 points after Smith earned a point for the best qualifying time with a 6.967-second run, just 0.020 seconds faster than Krawiec.

With 20 points awarded for advancing to each elimination round, Krawiec needed to go one round further than Smith to tie him in the standings, and another win to take the lead.

Smith wasn’t going to make it easy for Krawiec. Smith was the only rider to break the seven-second mark in the first round with a win over MB Precision Machining Suzuki’s Mike Berry.

Ed Krawiec's NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship was Harley-Davidson's fourth title in five years.Krawiec’s first round opponent was Rocklin Motorsports Buell’s Peggy Llewellyn. The two had faced each other twice already in the past and Krawiec came out on top in the rubber match.

Krawiec edged Schumacher Electric Suzuki’s Chip Ellis in the second round to temporarily put him into a tie for the lead with Smith set to compete in the very next heat.

Smith’s opponent in the second heat was Chris Rivas of Drag Specialties/S&S/G2 Buell who entered the weekend in third place. The drama of the match-up quickly disappeared however as Smith’s motorcycle broke down before the half-way mark.

Krawiec needed to win one more round to break the tie with Smith for the championship. Standing in his way in the third round was his teammate Andrew Hines. The two Screamin’ Eagle V-Rods raced down the track with Hines out in front by nearly four-tenths of a second before Krawiec pulled in front for the win and the championship.

Meanwhile, Rivas defeated Albrecht’s Fast Track Suzuki rider Craig Treble in the other heat to advance to the finals.

With the title locked-up, Krawiec still had something to prove going into the final. Despite his success, the native of Englishtown, N.J. has yet to win a National event.

Krawiec put in his best heat of the event during the final, recording a time of 7.009 seconds and topping the 190.46 mph-mark, but Rivas did even better with a time of 6.929 and a top speed of 191.95 mph.

Rivas’ win meant that Krawiec became the second rider to win the championship without winning a National event. Rob Bruins accomplished the feat in 1979.

“I’ll tell you, coming into the season I was hoping to get a win or two, and finish in the top five in points,” says Krawiec. “That didn’t happen, but we’ve been able to accomplish something that’s only happened once before in NHRA history. The level of competition is so high, but this has always been a very consistent team, and that paid off this season.”

Krawiec finishes the season with 2,471 points, just ahead of Rivas’ 2,466. Smith drops down to third with 2,451 points.

Related Reading
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!