Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Matchups Set For Route 66 Raceway
The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge is back, bringing an added measure of excitement as the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series makes its first Chicago appearance in four years at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway on May 19-21.
The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, which debuted this season, didn’t take place at the pair of four-wide races in April, but it returns in Chicago, delivering new participants, a defending winner and an entirely new category with it – along with competitive racing to qualifying on Saturday.
It also offers a bonus purse and bonus points for the Countdown to the Championship, as the challenge features the rematch of semifinalists from Pomona in the nitro class and from Gainesville in Pro Stock Motorcycle, with the winners meeting up in the finals. It’s already brought a new level of action to Saturday qualifying and fans in Chicago will get a chance to see it for the first time.
Mission #2Fast2Tasty Matchups
- Gaige Herrera vs. Jianna Evaristo (Herrera won in Gainesville)
- Angie Smith vs. Chase Van Sant (Angie Smith won in Gainesville)
Points leader Gaige Herrera will take on Jianna Evaristo in one matchup, while Gainesville runner-up Angie Smith will race against rookie Chase Van Sant. For Herrera, it’s another opportunity to continue his dominant start to the year. He’s won the first two races of 2023 on his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki and Herrera hopes there’s no slowing down his fast start.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got one bad hot rod right now,” Herrera said. “(Crew chief) Andrew Hines has all the confidence in the world with me and that makes me feel good. That bikes, it goes A to B on rails. I’m really looking forward to the weekend and as a team, I feel like we’re really doing well.”
Evaristo impressed in Gainesville en route to the semifinals, qualifying fifth and beating defending world champion Matt Smith to get to the final four. A victory over Herrera on Saturday would be perfect redemption, as well as another huge step in her career.
On the other side of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge bracket, Smith won her semifinal matchup against Van Sant on her Denso Auto Parts Buell but fell in the final to Herrera. They could very well meet in the final of the specialty event on Saturday and Smith has big goals in mind for the weekend. Her husband, defending world champ Matt Smith, has won the past two races at Route 66 Raceway and she’s eager to replicate that success on her bike.
“I’m excited to race in the first motorcycle Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge,” Smith said. “Matt Smith Racing has a really good record at Route 66 Raceway and my mission is to keep that going. I’m hoping to be too fast for my competition and bring home a little extra cash from the weekend as well.”
Van Sant sees the weekend as a chance for redemption in what’s already been a solid start to his rookie season. He advanced to the semifinals in Gainesville on his White Alligator Suzuki and considers it an honor to be involved in the first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. The only thing that would top it would be winning on Saturday.
“This is a cool deal to be a part of. When I first heard of the Mission Challenge, I was hoping we’d see some new faces in there and then I ended up int the first one,” Van Sant said. “I also like that we’re highlighting racing on Saturday and it’s more than just another qualifying run. I am still fairly new (to NHRA) so I need more seat time in race scenarios. Every round I try and get more and more used to the bike and to have a shot in an actual race is a great bonus.
“So far, we’ve had two engine failures that cost us at worst time. It happens sometimes and nobody can do anting about it but now I get a chance to make up for the semis in Gainesville and hopefully win a couple of rounds. It would be so cool to say you’ve won the first one.”
Winners in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge earn bonus points and there’s also bonus points on the line. Each challenge winner will earn three bonus points that will be added to their total to begin the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The runner-up will get two points and the quickest losing semifinalist earns a point, adding another massive incentive for race teams to chase a Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory in Chicago.
Qualifying at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway opens on Friday, May 19 at 5 p.m. CT, leading into qualifying at 1 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge will take place at the end of each qualifying round on Saturday.
Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, May 21. The opening round of the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout takes place at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, followed by the semifinals at 3:15 p.m. and the final round at 4:55 p.m. CT.
Pro Stock Motorcycle Pre-Entry List
Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry “Spiderman” McBride will take on Dave Vantine and his Yellow Bullet as Top Fuel Motorcycle exhibitions at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway on May 19-21.
McBride made the fastest motorcycle pass in drag racing history — 268.38 mph — during a Top Fuel Motorcycle exhibition race last season at the Virginia NHRA Nationals, will he hit 270 next weekend?
Weekend Motorcycle Schedule
4:00pm – Q&A with Larry McBride & Dave Vantine at the Nitro Alley Stage
5:00pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Qualifying Session
12:30pm – Top Fuel Motorcycle Exhibition – Larry McBride & Dave Vantine
1:30pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Qualifying Session
1:40pm – Mission #2Fast2Tasty Pro Stock Motorcycle Challenge – Round 1
4:15pm – Top Fuel Motorcycle Exhibition – Larry McBride & Dave Vantine
5:00pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Qualifying Session
5:15pm – Mission #2Fast2Tasty Pro Stock Motorcycle Challenge – Finals
12:00pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Eliminations – Round 1
1:40pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Eliminations – Round 2
3:00pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Eliminations – Semi-Final
3:10pm – Top Fuel Motorcycle Exhibition – Larry McBride & Dave Vantine
4:25pm – Pro Stock Motorcycle Eliminations – Final
About Mission Foods
MISSION®, owned by GRUMA, S.A.B. de C.V., is the world’s leading brand for tortillas and wraps. MISSION® is also globally renowned for flatbreads, dips, salsas and Mexican food products. With presence in over 112 countries, MISSION® products are suited to the lifestyles and the local tastes of each country. With innovation and customer needs in mind, MISSION® focuses on the highest quality, authentic flavors, and providing healthy options that families and friends can enjoy together. For more information, please visit https://www.missionfoods.com/
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown and Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Series. Twice a year, NHRA hosts a ‘race-within-a-race,’ during the JEGS Allstars and Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle specialty competitions. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. With over 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing-related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
About Camping World Holdings, Inc.
Camping World Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Lincolnshire, IL, (together with its subsidiaries) is America’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services. Our vision is to build a long-term legacy business that makes RVing fun and easy, and our Camping World and Good Sam brands have been serving RV consumers since 1966. We strive to build long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by combining a unique and comprehensive assortment of RV products and services with a national network of RV dealerships, service centers and customer support centers along with the industry’s most extensive online presence and a highly trained and knowledgeable team of associates serving our customers, the RV lifestyle, and the communities in which we operate. We also believe that our Good Sam organization and family of programs and services uniquely enables us to connect with our customers as stewards of the RV enthusiast community and the RV lifestyle. With over 185 locations in 40 states, Camping World, and sister company Gander RV, have grown to become prime destinations for everything RV. For more information, visit www.CampingWorld.com.