Eddie Krawiec Wins Pro Stock Motorcycle Season Opener at 2017 NHRA Gatornationals

Suzuki qualifies No. 1 but it was Harley vs. Harley in the PSM final round.

Krawiec vs. Hines, 2017 Gatornationals final round
It was Harley vs. Harley in the Gainesville PSM final round as Krawiec rode to a 6.763 pass at 199.76 bettering teammate Hines’ 6.802 at 197.10.Photo: Harley-Davidson

In the third of 24 NHRA national events and season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class at the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Eddie Krawiec defeated teammate Andrew Hines for his 37th career victory, second consecutive and fifth total at Gainesville Raceway. Krawiec rode his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.763 pass at 199.76 bettering Hines' 6.802 at 197.10 on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

Krawiec raises the Wally
Eddie Krawiec raises the Wally after his final-round victory at the 2017 Gatornationals.Photo: NHRA

Krawiec had worked up to the number one spot during qualifying until defending world champion Jerry Savoie on the White Alligator Farms Suzuki layed down a blistering 6.753-second pass at 198.99 mph to take the number one position on the ladder for Sunday's eliminations. It was Savoie's ninth No. 1 qualifier of his career.

“I’ve been coming to the Gators six years now,” Savoie said. “My first year out we qualified No. 6. I had really thought, when I bought all of Mr. (Don) Schumacher’s stuff and everything, that it was going to be easy, I thought we were going to qualify No. 1 and win the race. Six years later finally, finally we get to qualify No.1 in Gainesville. For me it’s a special privilege.”

Jerry Savoie and the White Alligator Farms Suzuki
No. 1 qualifier Jerry Savoie and the White Alligator Farms Suzuki.Photo: NHRA

Savoie made it through the first round of eliminations with a win over No. 16 qualifier Karen Stoffer, but his chances of raising the Wally in Gainesville came to an end against Steve Johnson in the quarterfinals.

Krawiec, meanwhile rode past Mike Berry (Buell), Matt Smith (Victory Gunner) and Joey Gladstone (Suzuki) before racing Hines in the finals. Hines defeated Angelle Sampey (Victory Gunner), Scotty Pollacheck and Johnson before being defeated himself.

Steve Johnson, Suzuki
Steve Johnson, SuzukiPhoto: Vance and Hines

“This helps set the pace for the year,” Krawiec said. “Get that first win off your back, keep that momentum rolling, get the points. You know once you win one or two races you kind of solidify your spot. With the extra competitive class we have this year it definitely helps. There’s a lot of great motorcycles. My Harley-Davidson this weekend really has been really fast, we just haven’t been able to harness that power and get it sorted out. I think as the year goes on we’re going to get better.”

Willie G. at the 2017 Gatornationals
Willie G. celebrates the win with the Vance and Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson team.Photo: Harley-Davidson

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 31-April 2.

ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.790, 197.22 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, Broke; Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.876, 194.41 def. Hector Arana, Buell, Foul - Red Light; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.805, 197.19 def. Cory Reed, 6.952, 190.16; Matt Smith, 6.826, 195.99 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, Broke; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.764, 198.52 def. Angelle Sampey, 10.641, 69.49; Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.881, 195.65 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.965, 186.30; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.888, 194.32 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.977, 191.78; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.876, 195.31 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.956, 192.08;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 6.863, 195.08 def. Savoie, 6.803, 197.39; Gladstone, 6.839, 195.96 def. Tonglet, 6.839, 196.04; Krawiec, 6.793, 197.65 def. M. Smith, 6.901, 192.63; Hines, 6.827, 196.27 def. Pollacheck, 6.870, 194.41;

SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.793, 197.36 def. Johnson, 9.767, 77.55; Krawiec, 6.766, 198.70 def. Gladstone, 6.886, 195.85;

FINAL — Krawiec, 6.763, 199.76 def. Hines, 6.802, 197.10.

1.  Eddie Krawiec, 120
2.  Andrew Hines, 97
3.  Joey Gladstone, 81
4.  Steve Johnson, 74
5.  Jerry Savoie, 63
6.  LE Tonglet, 58
7. Scotty Pollacheck, 52 (tie)
8. Matt Smith, 52
9.  Hector Arana, 36
10.  Hector Arana Jr, 35