Blazing Start For Krawiec At NHRA Opener
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Eddie Krawiec has an incredible knack for winning the first race of each new season and he did it again with a victory at the Amalie NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, March 18-19. Krawiec rode to a final round win over his Vance & Hines teammate Andrew Hines. Krawiec powered to a 6.763 for the win to cover Hines’ competitive 6.802 elapsed time.
“Getting a win this early really helps set the pace for the year,” Krawiec said. “If you can win two or three races, that just about guarantees a spot in the Countdown. This is an extra-competitive class and we’ve got a lot of good bikes out here this year so a fast start is more important than ever. It just feels good to get one out of the way so quickly.”
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By Kevin McKenna
The Gainesville opener featured premium weather and track conditions which allowed for record-setting performances. Krawiec qualified number two with a 6.791, behind White Alligator Suzuki’s Jerry Savoie, who rode to a 6.753 for the top spot. All 16 qualifiers ran quicker than a 6.922, making it one of the most competitive fields in the history of the class.
“We spent the winter working to refine our program and it showed this weekend,” Krawiec said. “We spent a lot of time in the dyno room working on engines and trying to learn a whole new way to tune our bikes. We also knew coming in here that this track was going to be really quick and we knew our challenge was going to be to harness that extra horsepower. We went testing a week ago and we swapped my tune-up with the one that my teammate was using. We picked up 3.5 miles-per-hour and that told us that we were on to something. By the time we got here we had a couple of fast motorcycles.”
Although Krawiec had one of the quickest bikes in the field, getting it to the finish line proved to be a challenge on at least a couple of runs including his round one win over Mike Berry. Krawiec rode the centerline for much of the track before finally getting the bike settled.
“I was pointed a little crooked and when I popped the clutch, the bike headed for the center line and I couldn’t get it to come back,” Krawiec said. “It was skidding the front tire and I was afraid the front end was going to wash out. I finally got it to go straight but it was a horrible run and I was lucky to win the round. I usually pride myself on being able to make good runs, but that was one that I’m not proud of. It’s a mistake that I don’t want to make again anytime soon.”
Krawiec managed to avoid trouble for the rest of the race and finished off his 37th-career victory with wins against Matt Smith, rookie Joey Gladstone and teammate Hines. On all three runs, he was solidly in the 6.7-second range.
In addition to the win, Krawiec also flirted with the magic 200-mph barrier several times in Gainesville. After tying the speed record with a 199.88 mph blast in qualifying, Krawiec ran another strong 199.76 mph speed in the final round.
“We’ve been trying to run 200 for the last six or seven years but we just can’t seem to get there,” Krawiec said. “On Saturday morning during qualifying we had the conditions to probably run 201 or 202, but we just couldn’t get a hold of the track. We’re not to the point where we can go 200 with just horsepower. We need to have all the right conditions and that includes cool temperatures and a good tailwind. Until we get that, it’s anybody’s guess when we’ll see someone run 200. I was really hoping that Drew and I would run side-by-side 200s in the final but that wasn’t meant to be either. CN