After a quiet start to the 2009 season the four-time NHRA championship winning Screamin’ Eagle Harley Davidson V-Rod team reasserted its dominance by claiming victories, qualifying on the pole, and setting an elapsed-time record during the last two stops on the NHRA tour.
Three-time series champion Hines qualified No. 1 and set low elapsed-time at both events with a stellar 6.87 in Atlanta, and a record-setting 6.86 in St. Louis. Last year’s champion Ed Krawiec led the team to the winner’s circle at each race, removing the dubious distinction of winless NHRA champion from his resume.
Now the Harleys have taken over two of the top three spots in the Full Throttle points chase with Krawiec leading the way at 341 and Hines ranked third with 308.
So is this team merely on a hot streak or are the V-Rods harvesting the results of an off-season rule change which allow them four valves?
Hines thinks the team was due to rewrite the record book.
“The last time I set a record was in Sonoma in 2005 and that was a 6.96,” Hines said. “It’s very satisfying to get the record back and improve it by a full tenth from where we were at four years ago.”
Three years ago at an independent motorcycle drag racing event at Cecil County Raceway in Maryland I took notice of a young talented rider who ran under the national V-Rod Destroyer elapsed-time record. His name was Doug Horne. Two seasons later, after hundreds of successful passes on his Destroyer and Pro Fuel Harley Horne is quickly making a name for himself in his first season of NHRA PSM racing.
Horne, aboard his Buell, entered Atlanta with an incredibly impressive reaction-time average of .016. A cluster of sub .020 lights is remarkable for a crafty veteran. It’s downright astonishing for a fresh rider coming off of his first two national events ever.
In St. Louis Horne made it to the semifinals for the third consecutive race, following his consecutive runner-up finishes in Houston and Atlanta. After four events Horne is ranked fourth in points and is well on his way to becoming the NHRA’s rookie of the year.
Surviving on winnings
Craig Treble is a grassroots racer in every sense. He works hard to continue doing what he loves with little funding and so far it’s working. After losing his deal with longtime sponsor Matco Tools, Treble is running a bare bones operation in which he is responsible for nearly everything from turning wrenches to seeking new sponsorship. He bracket races whenever he can. The extra track time not only keeps him sharp, it supplements his income.
At the outset of the season Treble didn’t think he’d have enough money to make it to St. Louis. Then he collected $10,000 by winning the Houston event with a borrowed motor and a ten-year-old chassis.
The pressure of not having a sponsor is bringing out the best in Treble and in St. Louis he again came up big in the clutch. He received another financial boost by finishing runner-up and improved his rank in the points to sixth.
Treble qualified fifth and his most impressive victory of the day came in round No. 2 of eliminations where he defeated 2007 class champion Matt Smith on a holeshot with a .011 light and a 7.02 to Smith’s .075 and 6.99. Treble’s other three raceday lights were .021, .022, and .020.
If Treble continues to perform like this he may not need a sponsor to make it through season. Maybe that’s the way he likes it.