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Gaige Herrera Dominates Again, Wins NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Callout At The NHRA Sonoma Nationals

From Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor | NHRA

SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2023) – Gaige Herrera has already won almost everything this year, so why not win the inaugural NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Allstar Callout? Herrera did just that after he rode his Vance & Hines Mission Foods Suzuki to another dominating win. This time, the second-year sensation banked the $15,000 top prize in the Callout event, which was hugely popular with Sonoma fans, who have long had a love affair with the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.

Herrera had the quickest bike in all three rounds and topped Angie Smith’s Denso Buell in the final round with a 6.756, 196.24 after Smith drifted out of the racing groove and had to shut off early.

“This has been amazing. I’m out of breath after that win,” said Herrera. “This is nothing like winning a Wally, but this Callout is awesome for the whole team. I’m just out of words. I’m so happy right now. My team is amazing. The amount of work they put into making these bikes run is why I feel we’ve had the success we’ve had this season. We made a last minute sprocket change to account for the wind, and that’s just a small example of what they do to win.”

"Of all the things I've done this year, I'd have to say this is tops for the whole season," Herrera said. "When you get to callout whoever you want, it's great. Today was fun."

The first round featured perhaps the biggest upset of the day as Angie Smith delivered a holeshot win over her husband, Matt, the reigning world champion and Sonoma Raceway track speed record holder. The Smith’s would have preferred not to race each other but were left with no choice once the callouts were completed on Friday evening. Angie was clearly not rattled by the thought of racing her husband and crew chief as she delivered a .017 light and a 6.802 to hold off Matt’s quicker 6.781.

I’m happy but I’m not going to celebrate in front of Matt,” said Angie “I owe all of this to him. I’m just the fortunate one to be able to ride this Denso bike. It’s not great but at the end of the day we have a Denso bike going to second round and that’s what’s important.”

Herrera kicked off his run to the title by making the quickest run of the day with a 6.745 to stop Chase Van Sant’s 6.873. Herrera also made the fastest run of the round with a 200.32 mph blast. Herrera’s teammate, Eddie Krawiec made a very respectable 6.771 run in his win over Marc Ingwersen while Hector Arana Jr. took care of business against Steve Johnson with a 6.791 on his GETTRX Buell.

The choices for the second round of Callouts appeared to be a bit clearer as Herrera wasted no time picking Hector Arana Jr. which left his teammate, Krawiec to battle Smith.

“I feel like we always have good races, so I’m going to pick Hector,” said Herrera.

Arana countered by saying. “He’s the guy to beat right now, and he’s the one I want to beat so let’s throw down.”

It wasn’t exactly an upset, but Smith continued to pour it on when she easily powered past Krawiec, who bogged off the starting line. Herrera then went on to reach the final on a single run as Arana’s bike suffered a transmission issue when he attempted his semifinal burnout. Smith ran a 6.785 while Herrera blistered the clocks with a 6.732, earning lane choice for the big money final.

Herrera’s 2023 season is already one for the ages as he’s won five of the first seven national events he’s raced in and has also won the Mission #2Fast#2Tasty Challenge and he’s been the low qualifier at every event except Denver, where he was third-quickest. The third-generation racer also became the first NHRA pro to clinch a spot in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

The DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway continues with eliminations Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Television coverage of the event continues with a second qualifying show Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will be aired on FOX Broadcast Network Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

See the latest from the NHRA:

Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals Saturday photo gallery:


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