Vance & Hines Riders
Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec took vastly different paths to the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines team. Hines, 25, is the youngest member of the family that is not only a dynasty but dragracing royalty. In the late 70s his father, Byron, tuned the Suzukis that Terry Vance rode to multiple championships and went on to form Vance & Hines in 1979. The company has become one of the most successful aftermarket companies in America and the only one to get the full blessing of Harley-Davidson. Andrew's older brother Matt, now the crew chief, raced Pro Stock on a Suzuki, winning the championship three consecutive years, from '97-'99. He competed until the end of '02 when his sponsor, Eagle 1, reneged on the final year of the contract.
Andrew Hines got his first taste of the V-Rod sitting in for the regular team rider who was delayed getting to a test in Las Vegas. "I probably had only 50 runs under my belt at that point," Andrew said. "That was fine, because I wasn't making a full run, so I never really got my head down or anything. But when we built my bike and took it down to Bradenton, Florida for my first pass, I popped the clutch and set my head down on the tank and everything was just a blur. I couldn't see where I was going and I shut off and I was like, 'What the heck was that?' Because the thing vibrates so different compared to a Suzuki. That was probably the scariest experience I've had on this bike."
The '03 season continued to be a learning year for the team and by 2004 it was ready. Hines won the Pro Stock title that year, plus the next two.
Krawiec, 32, has had more of a journeyman's career. A New Jersey native, he'd raced mostly in the AMA Prostar series while working at Old Bridge Raceway in Englishtown, N.J. In '04, he bought a Pro Stock machine and "spent half the year at Englishtown making runs down the track, trying to gain experience." He didn't qualify in his debut, which was at Englishtown. He continued to race in '05, but took off the following year to look for either a ride or a sponsor. If he didn't have a ride by his 30th birthday, he was going to chalk it up as a hobby.
Meanwhile Vance & Hines was looking for a new rider. National Dragster's Kevin McKenna suggested Krawiec to the team. They did phone interviews with him and a few others, then gave them a chance to ride the V-Rod at the Indianapolis track.
"When (Byron) came back, he said, 'You saved me,'" Vance remembers. "The kid he was thinking of didn't get down the track. This one kid showed up in his rental car with his leathers on he was so nervous. His knees were knocking on the gas track. Turned out he couldn't get down the track. Eddie did a burnout like a pro. Got down the track. He's done fantastic. He's definitely the one guy every race that everyone's worried about." Krawiec was on his way to propose to his wife-just before his 30th birthday-when he got the call from Vance. "Terry calls me up and tells me...I pretty much have the job if I'd like it. So it was pretty exciting day...I got a ride on the premier team in the country on a Pro Stock motorcycle, and also got engaged." The reward came in 2008, when Krawiec won the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle title.
Like the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP team, Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines has two riders capable of winning. But unlike Rossi and Lorenzo, Hines and Krawiec get along well.
"I think we drive each other to the next level," Krawiec, the more outgoing of the two, said. "I do feel that puts me and him above and beyond everybody else out there, because it's something that he's always trying to be better and I'm always trying to be better. And I think when we come head to head, we both know that and we both try to help each other. There's no such thing as either one of us being ignorant towards one another or walking away from each other where we'll never help each other. We're a team and bottom line is if he wins, I win, if I win, he wins. But we go out there and we try to do our best every time, even against each other we try to do it harder and I feel it betters us as competitors and more important as people."