Defending NHRA Pro Stock Champion Eddie Krawiec will ride a new-look Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod when he lines up for the opener of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series this weekend in the 43rd annual Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. Krawiec and his teammate Andrew Hines will debut the new-look bike at the opener.
Eddie Krawiec will wear the number-one plate when the NHRA Series gets started this weekend in Gainesville, Florida.
Krawiec scored four final-round wins in the 2011 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series in a season of consistency that saw him clinch his second world title with a second-round win at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, California. The championship is the fifth won by the Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines team in 10 years of NHRA competition.
"The competition gets tighter and tighter in this class, which makes for great racing but also means the Harley-Davidson team will need to be on its game at every event this season if we want to repeat," said Krawiec, who also won the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship in 2008, and is hoping to add to his back-to-back 2010 and 2011 season-opening wins at the Gatornationals with a rare three-peat. "I plan to keep riding my own race and hope we can continue the momentum that carried us to the end of last season."
Hines, who won twice in 2011 and has notched three championships with the Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines team (2004-06), is ready to get back on the track.
"I have not popped the clutch on one of these V-Rod bikes since the last round at Pomona," said Hines, who defeated Krawiec in a final-round match to end the 2011 season with an all-Harley final. "We are going to do some testing and then head to Gainesville, and I'm anxious to try out some of the new parts we've been developing in the off-season. I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun racing this year."
The team's V-Rod motorcycles have received a significant re-style for the first time since the team began NHRA competition in 2002, according to Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Kris Schoonover.
"The goal was to make the drag racing motorcycles look more like the current production Night Rod Special motorcycle," said Schoonover. "The biggest change is in the shape of the rear fender, although the front fender is a little longer and is now more similar to the part on the production motorcycle."
The new bodywork is finished with a fresh paint scheme designed by Paul Martin, Harley-Davidson Manager of Styling and Graphics at the Willie G. Davidson Product Development Center. For the first time, the team's two motorcycles will have a different appearance on the track. Krawiec's V-Rod is black on the top half and silver below, while the V-Rod raced by Hines will have those colors reversed. The graphics are detailed in orange and silver and will match new graphics for the Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines transporter and team uniforms. In addition, the riders will get new leathers that were designed by Karen Davidson, Creative Director of H-D MotorClothes and daughter of Chief Styling Officer Willie G. Davidson.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle class will open the season under the same rules package in place at the end of 2011. The series will compete at 16 events in 2011.