Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Eddie Krawiec, who started the Countdown in sixth place, moved through the first two rounds of eliminations with wins over Horne Racing Buell rider Doug Horne and Al-Anabi Racing Buell rider Matt Smith, who fouled at the start. Krawiec lost to Tonglet in the semifinals with a 6.931-second ET to the 6.901 pace set by Tonglet.
“We struggled in qualifying with my bike, and couldn’t get the 60-foot time down,” said Krawiec. “Then we blew off the tire in the last session and had to start eliminations on a new tire, but by the second round today my Harley was running strong. Anytime you make the semi-finals, it’s good. I moved up in points and in the standings. Tonglet was just fast today and beat me.”
That set up a final-round match between Hines and the rookie, Tonglet, who was the number-two qualifier for the event. Tonglet left the line first at 0.011 seconds and led the entire run with an E.T. of 6.869 to beat the 0.028/6.962 pass put down by Hines, which kept the three-time class champion from making a complete sweep of the U.S. Nationals.
“We lost it right off the line in the final,” said Hines. “First the motorcycle bogged, and then it spun the tire all the way through second gear. By then there was no way I was going to catch LE. He was fast all day.”