CONCORD, N.C. – Eddie Krawiec has come as close as any driver possibly can to winning at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA 4-Wide Nationals over the past half-decade.
In fact, he’s been the perennial bridesmaid of the annual spring race at zMAX Dragway, finishing second every year since 2013 – Including three times to his Harley Davidson teammate Andrew Hines.
But where some would be dejected to come that close to victory and not take home the trophy over such an extended period of time, Krawiec carried an ear-to-ear smile entering the race weekend and oozed optimism when speaking to the media about his chances.
“Some people would tell you that stat sucks, and it is a rough stat … but the way I look at it, it means we’ve got speed and we’ve been in the hunt for five years in a row, you know?” Krawiec noted. “Just, for one reason or another, every year something happens and it doesn’t quite come through for us. Hopefully Sunday can be the day and we can finally get the job done.”
“I’m just trying to have fun, man. If things don’t go my way, I don’t worry about it. I just look in front of me and keep trying to do the best job I can.”
Despite his near-misses in the four-wide format, Krawiec does have plenty of success at Charlotte.
He’s won the fall playoff event at zMAX Dragway three times (though the final round of one of those victories was held in Dallas, Texas, due to rain), including driving to victory in September of last year during the playoff opener at ‘The Bellagio of Drag Strips’.
“Really, I love Charlotte. (Bruton) Smith’s facilities are second to none,” Krawiec said. “They really put forth an effort to make it a great experience for You come to these places, and you get excited to be here … the fans and everybody. Charlotte is the newest drag strip that’s been built, and it shows when you walk around. It’s very impressive.”
“Yes, the four-wide stuff is something that’s weird, different and hasn’t necessarily been good to us over the last few years in terms of wins, but it’s cool to do and fun for the fans. … You have to be on your games and that’s a challenge I enjoy.”
That joy, Krawiec pointed out, is the key to being relaxed and loose on race weekends.
“Coming so close, but not winning, is something you can’t let bother you. I try to enjoy what I do and keep a positive attitude,” explained Krawiec. “I love what I do. I don’t let the statistics side-track me; if anything, I like to joke about them … because if you take everything too seriously, you put undue pressure on yourself, and that’s something I try not to do.
“I’m superstitious about not being superstitious. I go out of my way to be different, just so I can’t say there’s something that I did that made me not perform to the best of my ability. If it works, who knows, but it keeps me comfortable.”
Krawiec enters Sunday’s race as the Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader, holding a 16-point edge over Hines following a win in the Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod.
As far as what lengths he’ll go to in order to finally capture that first 4-Wide Nationals win? Krawiec has a strategy to accomplish that goal too.
“Maybe I just have to let the air out of the other competitors’ tires and play it off like, ‘I don’t know what happened!’” he joked. “But even if I did that, my bike would shut off or something and we still wouldn’t get there first.”
“We just have to go out, execute and show the speed we know we have. If we do that, we’ll have a shot.”