(Photos courtesy NHRA)

2016 NHRA season in review: Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Eddie Krawiec

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Over the next three-plus weeks, MotorSportsTalk will feature season-ending reviews of the top drivers of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Each day, we’ll have one in-depth review of a driver that finished in the top-five in each of the four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as a compendium of select other drivers that did not finish in the top-five.

The list of drivers we’ve already posted is below. Today, we feature Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec.

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Driver: Eddie Krawiec

Age: 40

Hometown: Englishtown, New Jersey

Team: Vance and Hines Racing

Sponsor/motorcycle: Screamin’Eagle/Vance and Hines Harley-Davidson

Crew chief: Matt Hines

2016 season finish: Second in Pro Stock Motorcycle

2016 season statistics: 16 races, 5 wins, 2 runner-up, 5 semifinals, 3 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier six times. Round-by-round record: 38 wins, 11 losses.

Career statistics: 171 races, 36 wins, 27 runner-up, 31 semifinals, 42 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier 33 times. Round-by-round record: 325 wins, 126 losses. 9 DNQ.

What went right in 2016: Krawiec had a strong season, winning almost one-third (five) of the 16 races on the Pro Stock Motorcycle schedule. He and teammate and 2015 (and five-time) champion Andrew Hines put up a strong effort, but in the end, both fell short of 2016 first-time PSM champ Jerry Savoie (Krawiec finished second, 24 points behind Savoie, while Hines finished third, 31 points back).

What went wrong in 2016: Krawiec struggled at times during the six-race Countdown for the Championship playoffs, most notably a first-round loss in the opener at Charlotte and quarterfinal losses at St. Louis and Pomona. Granted, Krawiec did win at Reading and Dallas, but when he lost in the second round of the season-ending race at Pomona, California, there went his chance for a fourth career PSM championship (previously won in 2009, 2011 and 2012).

What to look for in 2017: Krawiec wants a fourth championship in the worst way. Up until 2016, his primary nemesis was teammate Hines. Now he has to also contend with 2016 and first-time champ Jerry Savoie. There’s not much different Krawiec can do to reach the top other than what he’s been doing throughout his career. If he gets a couple of breaks, he very well may earn that fourth title in 2017.

Season reviews already posted:

— Antron Brown (12/12)

— Ron Capps (12/13)

— Jason Line (12/14)

Jerry Savoie (12/15)

Doug Kalitta (12/16)

Tommy Johnson Jr. (12/17)

Greg Anderson (12/18)

Eddie Krawiec (12/19)

Steve Torrence (12/20)

— Matt Hagan (12/21)

— Shane Gray (12/22)

— Andrew Hines (12/23)

— J.R. Todd (12/24)

— John Force (12/25)

— Bo Butner (12/26)

— Angelle Sampey (12/27)

Follow @JerryBonkowski

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.