Eddie Krawiec felt he didn’t give a true showing of what he is capable of at New England Dragway a year ago. With Krawiec and his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate, Andrew Hines, firmly back to their impressive ways in Pro Stock Motorcycle, do not expect that problem a second time.
Krawiec and Hines have met in each of the last three PSM final rounds on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit, and Krawiec, who won in Atlanta, carries plenty of confidence and momentum in his return to New England Dragway for this weekend’s 2nd annual Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals in Epping. It’s also a far different position than when Krawiec arrived in Epping for the inaugural event in 2013.
“Last year, Epping and Chicago was the rock bottom for Andrew and myself,” Krawiec said. “We put in countless hours trying to figure it out after that, and I’m definitely excited to return. I’m looking forward to this event, and Epping could have some really, really good air. Hopefully, we can treat the fans to some 6.70s this year.”
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock), and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the inaugural winners of an event that exceeded all expectations and will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2. It marks the fifth of 16 races for the PSM class, and Krawiec has returned to championship form.
That wasn’t the case a year ago for Krawiec, the 2012 PSM champion, when he qualified 14th in Epping and 16th in Chicago, losing in the first round at both events. That spurred massive changes and long hours at the shop, something that really became evident during the off-season.
But the end result has been well worth it, as newfound horsepower has led to impressive results for both Krawiec and Hines, who is the points leader and has won two of the past three events. Krawiec has been nearly as impressive, qualifying first in both Atlanta and Englishtown, putting together a run of 6.747 at 198.90 mph at his home track in New Jersey.
“I definitely think our program went in the direction we were expecting over the winter,” Krawiec said. “We put in endless hours of research and development trying to find power. It’s very hard to do during the season, but we spent the entire off-season working on that, and the power has continued to get better and better. All the guys at the shop have a vested interest in the program, and they had to dig deep to get us to win and be competitive again.”
The turnaround has Krawiec excited to return to Epping as well. Despite his performance and early exit, Krawiec was thrilled with the turnout as well as the reaction to the PSM class.
“I really liked it up there,” Krawiec said. “It has a grassroots feel to it, and everybody loved having us there. I was excited to have the bikes part of a new market, and the fans there were really enthusiastic to have us. I love these new markets and new events for the class.”
Krawiec will face strong competition from a talented field that seems to grow by the event. Hall beat Adam Arana in the final at New England Dragway a year ago, and other top challengers include reigning world champion Matt Smith, Hector Arana Jr., Michael Ray, and Scotty Pollacheck.
The Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals also starts a stretch of five races in six weeks for the PSM class, something Krawiec views as an opportunity to leave a significant impression on the rest of the category.
“It’s more of an endurance test,” Krawiec said. “We’re seeing the class get a lot tighter, and I think we have some great momentum right now. Andrew and I are sitting in a good position, and this is our opportunity to stretch things out. We’re going to try our best to do that, but there's a lot of great bikes in this class.”
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds and enjoy cherished face time with and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Families who are planning to attend the event will want to take advantage of the free general-admission tickets for kids ages 12 and younger. Fans will also want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, June 20, with sessions at 4:15 and 6:45 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, June 21, at 12:15 and 2:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, June 22.
To experience the roaring excitement of the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, get your tickets by calling 800-884-NHRA (6472) or visiting NHRATix.com.