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Gaige Herrera Secures NHRA Betway Carolina Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle Wally At zMAX Dragway

From Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 24, 2023) – Gaige Herrera scored his seventh win and first since Sonoma not counting his triumphs in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Hector Arana Jr.’s final-round red-light.

Herrera, who won six of eight events in the regular season astride his powerful Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki, worked his way to the final by defeating former world champ Jerry Savoie in round one, then retook the points lead he lost to Matt Smith last weekend by beating Smith in a titanic second-round clash. Rookie Chase Van Sant then red-lighted to send Herrera to his eighth final in 11 races this season. Herrera’s lead over Smith is now 52 points.

"It was a good Sunday," Herrera characteristically understated, "We're here, I've got the Wally so I can't complain and my bike was consistent again today. Losing [at the last] two races kind of lit a fire under me. After Reading I was kind of pissed off because we really couldn't pinpoint what happened and that basically made me dig down, me and Andrew [Hunes, crew chief] going over data, and trying to figure out what happened. So it really got me involved in it and the bike came off the trailer here flying.

"I was excited [to race Smith]. I actually wanted to skip the first round. I was definitely excited to race Matt because I don't want anyone easy. I've got a really fast motorcycle compared to a lot of others out here, so it makes it look easy, but at the same time, they're all very tough competitors. I love the pressure. My dream would be to race Matt in the final in Pomona for the championship."

Arana’s long day aboard the GETTRX Buell pulled him back into the thick of the points battle. Winner earlier this year in Norwalk and runner-up in Indy, the second-generation two-wheeled star defeated class veteran Steve Johnson, Angie Smith, and Herrera’s teammate, Eddie Krawiec, to reach the final, the 33rd of his career. Arana now sits just two points behind Smith in third place.

The halfway point of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship will be at World Wide Technology Raceway for the NHRA Midwest Nationals Sept. 29 - Oct. 01.

See the latest from the NHRA:

Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals Sunday photo gallery from NHRA National Dragster staff:


Photo's: NHRA | Racing Pro Media (RPM)


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