2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results

| September 5, 2017

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results – Pursuing NHRA’s biggest prize often calls for extraordinary measures, which helps explain why the Vance & Hines team went through the time and effort to re-body their new Harley-Davidson Street Rod bikes prior to the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Struggling with the new bikes since their debut in June, the team elected not to test but rather brought out their old chassis and fitted the new Street Rod bodywork. The move worked perfectly as Eddie Krawiec rode to his second Indy victory on Monday afternoon, defeating Lucas Oil Buell’s Hector Arana Jr. in the final.

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results
The Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines Team celebrate a well-deserved victory. Photo: Matt Polito

“After all we’ve been through, this feels pretty good,” said Krawiec who also won the Indy event in 2014. “We struggled with these bikes for the last few races and we tried just about everything we could think of to get them to leave the starting line. We finally decided to use our old chassis. It was a bold move, but we were all on the same page when it came to making that decision and I think it paid off.”

Although the Vance & Hines team elected to forego a pre-race test session, they hit the ground running with Krawiec taking the early lead in qualifying with a 6.822 followed closely by teammate, Andrew Hines, who ran 6.825. Eventual runner-up Arana Jr. was also well within striking distance of the leaders with a 6.840 elapsed time for the third spot in the field.

The U.S. Nationals is by far NHRA’s longest and most challenging event with five qualifying rounds and final eliminations spread out over four days. Battling fatigue and constantly changing weather conditions, Krawiec was remarkably consistent with five qualifying runs between 6.822 and 6.859-seconds.

“I had a great motorcycle all weekend,” Krawiec said. “We came off the truck with a good bike and just fine-tuned it from there. When Andrew and I went out and ran 6.8s on the first run, I knew we’d be good all weekend.”

Krawiec was no less effective on race day when he stormed to wins against Jim Underdahl, Nitro Fish Suzuki’s LE Tonglet, Victory Magnum’s Matt Smith and Arana Jr. Tonglet appeared to be his toughest opponent but the current points leader stumbled on his Suzuki and slowed to a 6.985. That wasn’t enough to beat Krawiec’s 6.881. Smith also presented a challenge, but his Victory broke just off the starting line, sending Krawiec into the final with a 6.922. The numbers in the final favored Kraweic, 6.858 to 6.886.

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results
Hector Arana Jr. (near lane) and Eddie Krawiec went head-to-head in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final. Krawiec edged out Arana for back-to-back Indy wins. Photo: Matt Polito

“Against Matt, I just made a bad run,” Krawiec said. “We had a bit of a crosswind today and the bike didn’t go straight. We were also off a bit on our tune-up. I was probably vulnerable in that round but Matt didn’t take advantage of it. We went back to our pit area and put our heads together and came up with a tune-up for the final. That’s where Andrew [teammate Hines] really shines. He went over all our data and really nit-picked it until he came up with a tune-up that worked. I thought that run in the final was pretty good. Junior [Arana] left on me a little so I needed all the horsepower I could get.

“This is our biggest race and it’s the most special, especially since I live here now,” Krawiec said. “Every racer wants to win Indy and I’ve been lucky to do it twice. I have my family here and a lot of friends and our shop is just up the street so half of the Vance & Hines people are here. It’s nice to deliver a win for them.”

While Krawiec changed half of his bike before the Indy race, runner-up Arana Jr. decided to change his entire bike midway through the event. The Lucas Oil team rolled out their EBR-bodied bike for the first two qualifying runs but after struggling to get down the track, they elected to return to the Buell that they had used previously.

“We tried this new EBR because we think it will be better,” Arana said. “It’s got potential but it isn’t there just yet. We went back to our old bike and it worked just fine. I felt so good today. I’m finally back on my game riding this bike and she’s bad to the bone. We did everything we could. We picked up from the semi finals, and cut a 0.010 light [reaction time] in the final round. I wouldn’t have wanted any better of a light for Indy. We did everything we could.

Arana Jr. finished the regular season as the number-three seed, which gives him an excellent opportunity to contend for the NHRA Mello Yello Series championship.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board and get ready for the Countdown,” Arana said. “If we keep this up we have a really good shot at running for the championship.”

By Kevin McKenna

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Indianapolis Results

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