Gaige Herrera and the entire Vance & Hines team couldn’t have asked for a better weekend of NHRA action.
Herrera qualified number 1 on Saturday and never slowed down through eliminations. Both he and teammate Eddie Krawiec advanced through round 1. Unfortunately, that is where the V&H teammates faced off being on opposite sides of the PSM ladder. Gaige advanced with a 6.708 vs EK’s 6.814. That setup the semi final round with Gaige against Jianna - both cut exceptional lights but the #vhpower Suzuki pushed ahead for the win 6.742 vs 6.883 putting Herrera in finals for his first V&H race.
Gaige faced veteran PSM Angie Smith in the finals. Angie is always a top performer, but Gaige didn’t change his tune. From the light on, .039 vs .075, Gaige was ahead and never looked back with another 6.706 202.15 mph vs 6.845 181.84 mph.
“Racing for the Vance & Hines is a dream. They are an awesome team to work with,” said Herrera. “They helped me out a lot as far as riding the bike and knowing what to do, and it’s showing. Right now, I’m at a loss for words. I still can’t believe I’m holding this Wally [trophy].”
Herrera competed in six events last season but didn’t enjoy much success. The win was not only the first for Herrera, but also the first for the new third-generation Suzuki Hayabusa body.
Herrera, a fourth generation racer, earned max points in Gainesville with his 6.685 qualifying effort, and his four race-day wins against Ron Tornow, Eddie Krawiec, Jianna Evaristo, and Smith.
You never want to race your teammate, but [the quarterfinal round against Eddie Krawiec] put a lot of pressure on me. He’s one of the greatest out here. To line up next to him was a lot of weight. I was hoping we’d race in the final, but that’s not how the cards played out. I grew up watching Eddie and Andrew and to be at this level with all these great competitors is awesome. If you had asked me end of last season if I’d be racing the Gatornationals, much less on a Vance & Hines bike I wouldn’t have believed it.”
See the recap from the NHRA National Dragster staff:
See Sunday's photo gallery:
See the point standings after the first event:
Content: Vance & Hines
Photo's: Racing Pro Media / NHRA
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