ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. – Reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Eddie Krawiec has had boundless success in his decade of racing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. But it was his first win at his hometown track, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, last season that put the icing on the cake for the three-time NHRA world champion.
“To finally win at Englishtown was a huge pressure off my back,” Krawiec said. “Back in 2009, I made it to the final there against Craig Treble and I played it a little too safe on the tree. I came up [with a reaction time of .061] and Treble came up [.007] and ended up taking the win by just a few [thousandths of a second]. That killed me, because it would have been my first career win and to have happened at my home track would have been huge. I thought maybe I let that win get away from me, but luckily enough in 2012 I had an awesome motorcycle going into the race. Qualifying went killer for me and I pretty much had my way in eliminations. Hector [Arana] Sr. went red to me in the final and I took the win. I told people, ‘Now that I’ve sealed the deal here I can move forward in my career.’ Even to this day it puts a smile on my face.”
Krawiec will try to claim his second win at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, May 30-June 2 at the 44th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals. Along with Krawiec, Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) will be looking to defend their 2012 victories at the Toyota NHRA Summernationals, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2HD.
The Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider’s history with the famed track begins well before he started taking home coveted Wally trophies and championship titles. Krawiec grew up in Englishtown and was the former track manager at Raceway Park before beginning his professional racing career as a Pro Stock Motorcycle rider in 2004.
“It’s my old stomping ground I guess you’d say,” Krawiec said of the legendary track. “My first pass down the track was in a street car. I think I went 14.12. That was my first-ever run down the quarter mile, and ever since that day it’s been full steam ahead and trying to go as fast as I can every single lap.”
This season Krawiec finds himself tied for the fourth spot with Arana Sr. in the points standings with his best effort being a runner-up finish at Charlotte. He remains confident going into familiar turf this weekend.
“I’m confident we’ve got a great team behind us, great support from Harley-Davidson and Vance & Hines and all the other suppliers and vendors that help us,” said Krawiec, who holds both ends of the Pro Stock Motorcycle track record at Raceway Park (6.782 seconds, 197.48 mph). “Being my home track, I have a lot of friends and family [there]. I have a lot of history at that track as a racer, I used to be employed there, and it goes back to when I grew up. I’m looking forward to heading home.”
Krawiec has faced some new season challenges, but the Englishtown fan-favorite is focused on continuing to ride like a champ.
“The way I look at it is I just need to continue to ride well and as long as I’m riding well and we continue to make improvements on our end, it’ll continue to get better,” the 2012 Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion said. “Coming into the season we had a whole new combination, and I knew there were going to be some challenges. We’ll start to turn our program around in the coming races. The key is we need to be in the top 10 coming out of Indy to have a shot for those final six [Countdown to the Championship] races.”
The Pro Stock Motorcycle season has been dominated by Hector Arana Jr. who has raced to three victories aboard his Lucas Oil Buell, but the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson tandem of Krawiec and three-time world champ Andrew Hines are eager to put an end to that streak. Surging Scotty Pollacheck, veteran Suzuki rider Steve Johnson, Arana Sr. and John Hall are all among the top contenders for the NHRA Wally in the two-wheel category at the event.
The Top Fuel category will feature intense racing action with Chesterfield, N. J. native and defending world champ Antron Brown vying for his first Top Fuel victory at the track to supplement his two Pro Stock Motorcycle wins. Tony Schumacher, Spencer Massey, Doug Kalitta, two-time season winner Shawn Langdon and Brandon Bernstein will also be looking for wins at the tradition-rich event.
In Funny Car, defending event winner Gray and Cruz Pedregon are the early leading championship contenders, with each claiming multiple wins early in the season. Matt Hagan is showing renewed success and defending world champ Jack Beckman, Robert Hight and Courtney Force will try to add their names to the NHRA record book as Englishtown winners. Four-time E-Town winner John Force, 2006 winner Ron Capps, two-time winner Del Worsham and 2008 winner Tim Wilkerson will all be working to get another victory at the legendary track.
The Pro Stock category is once again proving to be one of the toughest categories in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with winners and losers separated by only hundredths of a second during many of the elimination rounds. Mike Edwards has the points lead in the category on the strength of two wins with Jeg Coughlin and Allen Johnson breathing down his neck in second and third in points. Jason Line, Erica Enders-Stevens and defending event winner Anderson, who has the most Pro Stock wins at the track with five, will all be competing for the coveted NHRA Wally on Sunday.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as every ticket is an exclusive pit pass, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds. While visiting the pits, interactive NHRA Nitro Alley and the NHRA Manufacturers Midway are two popular areas fans won’t want to miss.
The race also will feature exciting side-by-side racing action in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Series.
• SCHEDULE: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4 and 6:15 p.m. Friday, May 31, and will continue Saturday, June 1, at noon and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 2.
• TICKETS: For tickets, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800. Tickets also are available online at www.racewaypark.com.
• TELEVISION: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 5 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, June 1, and two hours and 30 minutes of eliminations coverage at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 2.
• ON THE WEB: Get instant results, access to photos, video and audio clips and the latest news updates from every NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.NHRA.com.
TOYOTA NHRA SUMMERNATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 44th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals, the ninth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, N.J. From the North, take N.J. Turnpike South to Exit 9, follow the signs to Rt. 18 South. Go six miles to the Englishtown exit. Take Rt. 527 South five miles. Make a left onto Pension Rd. Go ¼ mile, track entrance on left.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, May 30 - June 2
THURSDAY, May 30 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
FRIDAY, May 31 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 3:30 and 5:45 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4 and 6:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, June 1 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 1:45p.m.; First round of eliminations at 4 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at noon and 2:15 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 2 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 1, ESPN and ESPNHD will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 5 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, June 2, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 1 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, June 2, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours and 30 minutes of coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
2012 EVENT WINNERS: Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Johnny Gray, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Eddie Krawiec, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST VICTORIES: Kenny Bernstein, 7, (4 FC, 3 TF); Joe Amato, 6, TF; Larry Dixon, 6, TF; Don Prudhomme, 6, FC; John Force, 4, FC; Greg Anderson,5, PS; Bob Glidden, 4, PS; Warren Johnson, 4, PS; Dave Schultz, 4, PSM; John Myers, 4, PSM.
Top Fuel - 3.728 seconds by Spencer Massey, June ’12; 329.91 mph by Massey, June ’12.
Funny Car - 3.964 seconds by Ron Capps, June ’12; 320.89 mph by Capps, June ’12.
Pro Stock - 6.508 seconds by Jason Line, June ’11; 213.03 mph by Ron Krisher, June ’11.
PS Motorcycle - 6.782 seconds by Eddie Krawiec, June ’12; 197.48 mph by Krawiec, June ’12.
Top Fuel - 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.986 sec. by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 320.58 mph by Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
Pro Stock - 6.471 sec. by Mike Edwards, April ’13, Charlotte, N.C.; 214.35 mph by Jason Line, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
PS Motorcycle - 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: For tickets call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800. Tickets also are available online at www.racewaypark.com.
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, Calif. -- Point standings (top 10) following the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 665; 2. Shawn Langdon, 631; 3. Antron Brown, 593; 4. Spencer Massey, 541; 5. Doug Kalitta, 470; 6. Khalid alBalooshi, 442; 7. Brandon Bernstein, 414; 8. Morgan Lucas, 409; 9. Bob Vandergriff, 358; 10. Clay Millican, 332.
Funny Car: 1. Johnny Gray, 591; 2. Cruz Pedregon, 581; 3. Matt Hagan, 568; 4. Ron Capps, 512; 5. Courtney Force, 485; 6. Tim Wilkerson, 457; 7. Robert Hight, 447; 8. Jack Beckman, 444; 9. Del Worsham, 397; 10. John Force, 385.
Pro Stock: 1. Mike Edwards, 723; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 647; 3. Allen Johnson, 602; 4. Erica Enders-Stevens, 526; 5. Jason Line, 505; 6. Vincent Nobile, 465; 7. Shane Gray, 456; 8. Greg Anderson, 424; 9. V. Gaines, 403; 10. Greg Stanfield, 353.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Hector Arana Jr, 375; 2. Scotty Pollacheck, 256; 3. John Hall, 187; 4. (tie) Hector Arana, 174; Eddie Krawiec, 174; 6. Steve Johnson, 159; 7. Andrew Hines, 144; 8. Michael Ray, 141; 9. Jim Underdahl, 136; 10. Matt Smith, 133.