Freshly crowned Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Gaige Herrera has a new teammate in Richard Gadson, a multi-series champion
Eddie Krawiec, a race shy of his milestone 50th victory, steps from longtime Vance & Hines ride to serve as crew chief for Gadson—and he says it was his choice.
Goal is pay it forward, help Vance & Hines build for the future but hints we haven't seen the last of him on track.
Eddie Krawiec, the four-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, is the latest in this NHRA offseason to announce won’t be competing in the 2024 Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, at least for now. And he said it was his choice as he helps the Vance & Hines team build for the future with newest addition Richard Gadson.
“I’m not saying I'm done yet,” the powerhouse’s longtime racer and 49-time winner said this week through his Facebook account. “But 2024 will be a really exciting season for our RevZilla/ Mission Foods/Vance and Hines Motorsports Suzuki team. We are really looking forward to seeing Gaige Herrera and Richard Gadson get after it as teammates in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle.”
Krawiec had worked with multi-series champion Gadson during the 2023 season, helping introduce him to the organization. Gadson has earned titles in the Xtreme Dragbike Association (XDA), Midwest-based NHDRO, Southeastern Motorcycle Drag Racing Association (SEMDRA), and the Manufacturers Cup (ManCup).
“I’m 100-percent OK with this. It was my choice,” Krawiec told Autoweek. “I really didn’t want to race full-time forever. I was once the kid who really just wanted a chance and got that opportunity. To be able to do that for someone else brings a smile to my face.
“I have nothing to regret about my career or results I’ve delivered. Would I like to have 50 [victories]? Yes – but I would want to have 51 and then 52, et c. If I never get 50, I’m OK with that. It’s 49 more than many and 48 more than I ever wanted. One win was all I ever dreamed about. In the end, I will get 50 wins – 49 will be as a rider and 50-plus will be as a crew chief.”
He left the door open for a return to the seat.
“As of now I’m not done. We are building a few new bikes now, and who knows? Maybe I will test one of them or run a race on one,” he said. “If I find all my enjoyment as a tuner, I will not feel the need to get on the bike. The challenge is not in the riding for me. It’s about extracting everything I can out of the performance of the package.”
He said he and Andrew Hines—who stepped from his own bike to tune for reigning champion Herrera and will work alongside Krawiec on the tuning side—both saw the potential in Gadson. The Vance & Hines rookie is a third-generation drag-bike racer and is the nephew of former NHRA bike competitor Ricky Gadson. He made his NHRA debut in Oct. 2022 at Dallas, teaming with philanthropist-racer Robert Brandt aboard the Military Suicide Awareness Suzuki.
“Richard is who Andrew and I thought was most capable” of wringing all the performance from the motorcycle, Krawiec said. “He is a very accomplished racer, and I’m excited to work with him. I think between Richard and Gaige, we have two of the most solid racers and riders the class will see for the next few years. I’m really looking forward to this next chapter and excited to see how it goes.”
Gadson said in a prepared statement, “There were moments when reaching my goal of racing an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle seemed impossible. My road was filled with twists, turns, and doubts, but knowing Eddie for many years and also finding ways to stay involved with the class made it possible.”
In his 270-race career, Krawiec recorded 49 victories in 96 finals and a 515-211 elimination-round mark that ranks ninth among active drivers in all classes. His 49 victories are second only to the Andrew Hines’ 56. In 2023’s 15 races, Krawiec was winless in five finals (all against Herrera, including at the final four Countdown events) and closed with a 29-15 record.
Those 515 round-wins is particularly impressive, because the Pro Stock Motorcycle class doesn’t race a full schedule and because Krawiec has more than Matt Hagan, Steve Torrence, and Erica Enders (who have a combined 14 championships).
Krawiec, named last March to Autoweek’s list of the top 50 racers of the NHRA’s modern era at No. 26, earned championships in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2017. He lost the 2009 title to Hector Arana by two points, the narrowest decision in class history. In 2008, Krawiec’s first crown came without a single victory all season, as he matched Top Fuel driver Rob Bruins’ 1979 distinction. He also is a three-time winner of the prestigious U.S. Nationals.
With four titles, Krawiec equaled the accomplishments of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Gary Scelzi, Lee Shepherd, Steve Torrence, and Matt Hagan.