THREE-TIME PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE WORLD CHAMP EDDIE KRAWIEC RIDING HOT STREAK INTO
PRESTIGIOUS CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
Eddie Krawiec thought he had accomplished enough in his standout Pro Stock Motorcycle career to know what winning the world’s most prestigious drag race, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, would feel like and would mean to his career.
The three-time world champion had won world titles, won in front of family and friends at his hometown track in Englishtown and had posted 24 career victories before entering the winner’s circle for the first time at Indy in 2014.
From there, it didn’t take long for Krawiec to understand the magnitude of winning the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and he quickly remembered the moment that realization set in.
“To be honest, it was walking the track with my daughter after the race,” Krawiec said. “It was an awesome deal. You try to treat every race the same but that’s easier said than done with Indy. I’ve won my hometown race in Englishtown and won world championships, but the one question you always get is, ‘Are you ever going to win Indy?’ To say you’ve done it, that puts a smile on my face. To get that win, that was my championship last year.”
After winning for the first time a year ago, Krawiec wants a second win on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson at this weekend’s 61st annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at venerable Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
That won’t be a problem for red-hot Krawiec, who has been in the points lead since the second race of the season. He’s been dominant in recent weeks, winning the past three events, making him the clear favorite in the class heading to Indy. In fact, Krawiec has posted seven wins in the last 18 races dating back to last year’s victory in Sonoma.
“I felt very comfortable last year and I feel the same way again this year,” said Krawiec, who has 30 career wins. “Honestly I feel even better this year and I don’t have to prove I can win it. I just want to keep this (streak) going. I don’t want this roll to end. It’s the right time to get momentum going into the Countdown and I just want to keep performing. The bike has felt good all year and we got it figured out at the right time of the year, and that makes me that much more confident.”
Krawiec has advanced to six final rounds in nine Pro Stock Motorcycle races this season, but has been especially dominant over the last three. He was the No. 1 qualifier in Denver and Sonoma, and qualified second in Brainerd before beating teammate and reigning world champion Andrew Hines in the final round. Despite Indy being a massive weekend, Krawiec insists he will try to keep the same mindset that has been apparent over his impressive run.
“My mindset is no different,” Krawiec said. “I go to every race looking to win so I’m going to Indy to try to win. You can’t let the pressure of the race get to you and you definitely can’t think about it. You just need to go race and perform.”
Krawiec has had no trouble in that department, as his Harley-Davidson appears to be peaking at the right time. He followed the win at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals by winning the first race of the Countdown in Charlotte and two overall to finish second to Hines.
Another strong performance in Indy and hot start in the Countdown could cement a fourth world championship, but Krawiec will have to contend with the likes of Hines, Hector Arana Jr., who is currently in second and trails Krawiec by 166 points, Karen Stoffer, Jim Underdahl, two-time world champ and past Indy winner Matt Smith, 2009 Indy winner Hector Arana and alligator farmer Jerry Savoie.
As far as the race for 10th-place, L.E. Tonglet, who trails ninth-place Scott Pollacheck by only 21 points, is 26 points ahead of Chip Ellis and 51 points ahead of multi-time Indy winner Angelle Sampey. Chaz Kennedy and Angie Smith are both 68 points back of Ellis, while Steve Johnson also has a shot at 78 points behind, as Indy is a points and a half race.
Performing in front of friends, family and employees from the Vance & Hines facility, which is just down the road from Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, is also a major reason for Krawiec to stay motivated this weekend.
“There’s a lot of people who put 100 percent attention to helping get the job done,” Krawiec said. “It’s a great deal when everybody gets to enjoy it with you. Friends, family, co-workers, they all make it possible, so for them to enjoy it that’s the ultimate satisfaction. There’s a lot of people who make up the pieces of the puzzle. They’re all a part of it and they all contribute, so when they are able to be there to enjoy it, it makes it that much more satisfying.”
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