The numbers are staggering.
173 final rounds. 100 combined victories. 90 top qualifier awards.
It is safe to say that Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec know their way around a race track.
And that is what made Sunday’s Pro Stock Motorcycle final round between Hines and Krawiec at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals so much fun. It was a good, clean, old-fashioned slugfest between two of the best to ever hop on the back of a motorcycle as Andrew Hines grabbed the win Sunday at Summit Motorsports Park.
“From my point of view it was a flawless run,” a confident Hines said. “I was just riding down through there tucked in behind the windscreen waiting on the shift light to come on. I just have a great group of guys behind me right now.”
Hines earned his fifth win of 2019 and 53rd of his career aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Sunday, leading wire-to-wire against Kraweic in the final. Hines ran a 6.895-second pass at 196.99 mph in picking up the win, his fifth at Norwalk as the Vance & Hines team have combined to win eight of the 13 races run at the northern Ohio track.
Krawiec, meanwhile, fell short for the seventh time in a final over the past two seasons with a 6.967 at 196.64 mph. And, in many of those runner-up finishes, a vast majority came against his teammate in all-Harley finals.
“In the final round lane choice was a big deal. We were able to get lane choice over Eddie and we put him over in the right lane. His bike had a tendency to spin all day long so we put him over in the greasier lane,” Hines said. “I kept my head mellow and got the job done. The guys worked really hard to give me a good bike. They do a great job making sure we have phenomenal motorcycles and we were able to plow through the conditions and make the right tuning calls today.”
During a tricky afternoon that impacted all of the competitors on a track that changed vastly over the course of the weekend, Hines survived and advanced against Marc Ingwersen, Angelle Sampey and Matt Smith.
Hines ran low elapsed time for the event in his round one win over Ingwersen, before facing two tricky matchups against brand new teammate Sampey and rival Smith.
Sampey ran with Hines on the third bike in the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson camp, but hit the timing blocks at the top end of the track, negating her run. Then, in the semifinal, Hines faced his closest race of the day, edging Smith with a 6.864 at 197.13 mph to Smith’s 6.891 at 198.88 mph.
All-in-all in was a successful day for Hines, who continued his dominance in the class with five wins in seven total races this season.
“You never know how these races are going to pan out. The competition is tough and each round you have to earn it,” Hines said. “Today it was different conditions than the rest of the weekend and it really threw our motorcycles for a little bit of a loop. But for some reason, my motorcycle tends to work really well on a greasy track.
“Today was interesting. I helped Marc (Ingwersen) with some software this weekend before knowing we were going to be running him so that was a challenge. Then we ended up running Angelle in the second round, which was our first time racing as teammates. With the history we have had in the past, we rolled up there and it was like no big deal racing her. She had a good bike and I knew if she had made a good run I was going to have a heck of a time, unfortunately she hit the cones down there.
“Then, going against my nemesis Matt Smith, his red motorcycle has been fast here lately, he just hasn’t caught a break to make the string of runs to have as many wins as he probably should. That is always a good battle and I was ready for anything.”
Hines is now one win shy of tying his career-best for wins in a season at six.
Krawiec, meanwhile, advanced to his fifth final of the year, coming up short in all of them. He defeated Michael Ray, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck on Sunday.
“Racing each other has brought out the best in both of us,” a confident Hines said. “That is why we’ve been able to have as many wins as we have had. We have pushed each other that much harder to make sure our motorcycles are strong and that we are learning from one another and we don’t get complacent. Never do we say, ‘it ran this fast, let’s leave it.’ We try to find the next evolution to make it go faster. Not one time did each motorcycle go down the track with the same tuneup from run to run.”
While the team has run away with the Pro Stock Motorcycle class for much of the year, the Vance & Hines bunch will face a new challenge when the class rejoins the tour in Denver in mid-July.
“We are planning on rebodying these motorcycles for Denver and bring out our new bodywork,” Hines said. “We have a couple of hard weeks ahead of us, but we will get it done and get out and do some testing and roll into Bandimere ready to go.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019