HomeNews / Race ResultsNHRA: Steve Johnson Wins 2023 Pro Stock Motorcycle at Bristol Dragway

NHRA: Steve Johnson Wins 2023 Pro Stock Motorcycle at Bristol Dragway

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series
2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series
NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Bristol Dragway
June 9-11, 2023

Pro Stock Motorcycle

In a major upset in the Pro Stock Motorcycle ranks, Johnson won in the final when points leader Gaige Herrera went red and suffered his first loss of the season. Johnson went 7.174 at 158.63 on his to earn his 12th career win, denying Herrera his fourth straight victory to open the season. Herrera entered the championship round 14-0 in 2023, but he left too soon by .011, handing Johnson his first victory of the season and his first win at Bristol Dragway.

Johnson reached his first final round this season with victories against Joey Gladstone, Eddie Krawiec and Hector Arana Jr., setting up the win against a rider who had dominated in the class up until that point.

“The Suzuki Hayabusa Gen 3 body is the newest coolest thing in Pro Stock Motorcycle racing,” Johnson said. “We got it, it’s the 25th anniversary of Suzuki next year and we’re really into trying to promote it. It’s totally different. It looks the same, but the feel and how the motorcycle rides down the track it’s totally different.

“In the finals racing Gaige, he’s got a really, really fast Suzuki and I was like, okay, what do you want to do? We talked about timing, jetting, all these things, but it was like, we just have to throw the kitchen sink at it. But we didn’t have one. So, we said we’ll just do what we can. We did some stuff that probably wasn’t right, but I looked up and saw our win light, and I let off to save the parts. I was pretty happy with it, but it’s pretty shocking.”

Steve Johnson - Pro Stock Motorcycle

Herrera, who was the No. 1 qualifier, easily maintained the points lead, advancing to his fourth straight final round with wins against Ron Tornow, rookie Chase Van Sant and Angie Smith.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action June 22-25 with the 17th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

Eliminations – Round 1

W – Angie Smith / 0.025 / 6.917 / 196.93
L – Jianna Evaristo / 0.024 6.988 193.63

Angie Smith was 13 – 2 in Rd. 1 last year. She is 1 -2 in Rd. 1 this year. Evaristo is 0 – 2 against Smith. A coin flip off of the line, Smith starts pulling away. Her bike sounded like it may have bogged a little at the hit but she extends her lead all the way through the run.

W – Chip Ellis / 0.103 / 6.894 / 194.02
L – John Hall / 0.013 / 7.438 / 144.32

Chip Ellis wins 59% of his Rd. 1 races overall. John Hall is the 49th rider to face Ellis in Eliminations. Hall gets the advantage off of the line but Ellis starts reeling him in quickly. Hall gets out of the groove, then Ellis goes around him and takes the win.

W – Chase Van Sant / 0.023 / 6.929 / 195.00
L – Matt Smith / Broke

Matt Smith is 205 – 84 (71%) in Rd. 1 races. Chase Van Sant is the 55th rider to face Matt Smith in Eliminations. Smith can’t get his engine to fire and does not make a pass. Van Sant makes a good pass and takes the win.

Matt Smith
Matt Smith

W – Ryan Oehler / 0.059 / 7.112 / 193.60
L – Marc Ingwersen / -0.044 foul / 6.937 / 192.41

This is the 9th time in 37 races that Marc Ingwersen has been in the top half of the field. Ryan Oehler is 1 -2 in Rd. 1 this year. Oehler is 1 – 0 against Ingwersen in prior events. Ingwersen is a little too quick off of the line and goes red giving the win to Oehler.

Marc Ingwersen
Marc Ingwersen

W – Steve Johnson / 0.079 / 6.880 / 193.54
L – Joey Gladstone / 0.052 / 6.937 / 192.71

Steve Johnson is 3 – 2 against Gladstone overall but 0 – 1 against him this year. Joey Gladstone is 3 – 0 in Rd. 1 this year. Gladstone gets out of the gate first but Johnson starts reeling him in quickly. Johnson gets around him at half track and pulls away for the win.

Joey Gladstone
Joey Gladstone

W – Hector Arana Jr / 0.028 / 6.883 / 198.00
L – Marcus Hylton / 0.033 / 16.313 / 44.04

Hector Arana Jr. wins 79% of his Rd. 1 races when he has lane choice. Marcus Hylton is making his 2nd start. Arana gets the advantage off of the line but Hylton pulls in front at the sixty foot mark. Arana gets back around him and pulls away for the win.and Marcushy doesn’t go into the sand.

Marc Hylton
Marc Hylton

W – Eddie Krawiec / 0.098 / 6.864 / 196.50
L – Kelly Clontz / 0.033 / 7.033 / 192.80

Clontz gets the holeshot, stays in front to the sixty foot mark, then Krawiec goes by and makes the quickest pass of the round so far to take the win.

Kelly Clontz
Kelly Clontz

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.112 / 6.816 / 195.73
L – Ron Tornow / Left before tree activated

Gaige Herrera is the 1st PSM rider to “sweep” the 1st 3 races of the year since Matt Hines in 1998. Ron Tornow is making his 21st start. Herrera is 2 – 0 against Tornow in prior events. Tornow leaves before the tree is activated and he does not receive a time. Herrera goes down the groove with the quickest pass of the round to take the win.

Ron Tornow
Ron Tornow

Eliminations – Round 2

W – Angie Smith / 0.062 / 6.984 / 192.41
W – Chip Ellis / -0.187 / 6.918 / 194.32

Ellis is 8 – 0 against Smith in prior events. Ellis is too quick off of the line and goes red giving the win to Smith.

W – Hector Arana Jr / 0.019 / 11.764 69.96
L – Ryan Oehler / -0.087 foul / 7.051 / 193.88

Arana Jr is 7 – 1 against Oehler in prior events. Oehler leaves a little too soon and goes red. Arana gets about 300 feet out and sits up on the bike, not sure why.

Ryan Oehler
Ryan Oehler

W – Steve Johnson / 0.028 / 6.899 / 192.85
L – Eddie Krawiec / 0.065 / 6.870 / 196.99

Krawiec is 24 – 8 against Johnson in prior events. Johnson gets the holeshot, Krawiec starts making up ground but runs out of room.

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.019 / 6.805 / 196.99
L – Chase Van Sant / 0.008 / 6.976 / 193.10

This is the first time Herrera and Van Sant have faced each other in eliminations. Van Sant does everything he can here but it isn’t enough. Herrera makes up the starting line advantage quickly then pulls away for the win.

Eliminations – Semi-Final

W – Steve Johnson / 0.060 / 6.894 / 194.13
W – Hector Arana Jr / 0.006 / 8.682 / 105.42

Arana Jr is 13 – 2 against Johnson in prior events. Arana gets the holeshot, gets about 100 feet out, the engine bogs and he gives up on the run. Johnson went down the groove with a good pass to take the win.

Hector Arana Jr
Hector Arana Jr

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.010 / 6.845 / 195.73
L – Angie Smith / 0.080 / 6.933 / 196.07

Smith is 2 – 1 against Herrera in prior events. Herrera gets off the line first, goes right down the groove and pulls away for the win.


Eliminations – Final

W – Steve Johnson / 0.053 / 7.174 / 158.63
RU – Gaige Herrera / -0.011 / 6.921 / 170.82

Steve Johnson - Pro Stock Motorcycle
Steve Johnson – Pro Stock Motorcycle Winner

This is the first time Herrera and Johnson have faced each other in eliminations. It had to happen at some point, Herrera loses a race. he is a little too quick off of the line and goes red giving the win to Johnson. Johnson gets the win, the 12th of his career.

Qualifying Saturday

Gaige Herrera Wins #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and Qualifies #1

In the final round of the bonus event, Herrera was quicker on the starting line against Hector Arana Jr., posting a .009 reaction time and a run of 6.849-seconds at 194.83 mph on his Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki. It’s Herrera’s second Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory this season, with his run of 6.808 at 198.61 earlier on Saturday giving him the No. 1 qualifier. Herrera hasn’t lost a round in 2023 and will aim for his fourth straight win on Sunday as he opens eliminations against Ron Tornow in what also is Herrera’s Thunder Valley debut.

“It makes me feel better that I went out there and did my job,” Herrera said. “I had to fight the bike a little bit from going towards the wall, and I think that’s why we slowed up a little bit. But that was a good run with Hector. I was glad to get the holeshot and come out on top. Just to be a part of the whole Mission Challenge is very cool.

“It’s been a wonderful journey so far. This whole season has been a dream come true, like I’ve been saying, and to do it like we’ve been doing it is just incredible. I’m just glad to be part of it.”

Arana Jr. qualified second with a 6.839 at 199.02 and Eddie Krawiec’s 6.855 at 198.03 put him third.

1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.808, 198.61 vs.
16. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.062, 189.71

2. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.839, 199.02 vs.
15. Marcus Hylton, 7.057, 189.58

3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.855, 198.03 vs.
14. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.014, 193.79

4. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.856, 197.36 vs.
13. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.984, 193.65

5. Chip Ellis, EBR, 6.857, 196.73 vs.
12. John Hall, Buell, 6.943, 193.57

6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.875, 195.36 vs.
11. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.942, 193.52

7. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.891, 194.16 vs.
10. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.928, 195.28

8. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.904, 196.39 vs.
9. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.911, 193.85

–Did Not Qualify
17. Lance Bonham, 7.260, 181.89
18. Chris Bostick, 7.346, 186.30


Qualifying Friday

In his first appearance at Bristol Dragway, Herrera continued to put on an impressive show, going 6.820 at 196.63 in the second session on his Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki to grab the provisional No. 1 position. It’s the fourth straight track where Herrera is making his NHRA debut this year and he’s won at the first three thus far. He’s also on track to earn his fourth straight No. 1 qualifier as Herrera bounced back with a stellar a subpar run to open the day.

“It’s very cool to be racing here at Bristol,” Herrera said. “Based on what Andrew (Hines) and Eddie (Krawiec) and a few riders told me, it definitely played out how they said it would. This track is different and you have to be more aware.

“After the first round, I was just mad at myself for what I did. It just made me more determined to ride better and do better. I went out there like it was raceday, I pushed the tree, and I rode as best I could. It lit a fire under me, and I went out there and rode the bike how I know I can.”

Eddie Krawiec, who made the best run in the opening session, is currently qualified second with a 6.855 at 198.03, and Angie Smith is in the third spot after she went 6.856 at 197.36.

Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.820, 196.93
2. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.855, 198.03
3. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.856, 197.36
4. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.891, 194.16
5. Chip Ellis, EBR, 6.908, 194.80
6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.923, 192.91
7. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.934, 195.17
8. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.935, 192.55
9. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.942, 193.52
10. John Hall, Buell, 6.943, 193.57
11. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.988, 193.21
12. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.062, 189.71
13. Kelly Clontz,Suzuki, 7.107, 193.07
14. Marcus Hylton, 7.154, 187.21
15. Lance Bonham, Buell, 7.260, 178.33
16. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.466, 149.00.
–Not Qualified
17. Jianna Evaristo, 7.578, 137.60
18. Chris Bostick, 15.944, 47.40

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.

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