HomeNews / Race ResultsNHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Racer Gaige Herrera Sweeps Western Swing

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Racer Gaige Herrera Sweeps Western Swing

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series
DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals
Sonoma Raceway
July 28-30, 2023

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Racer Gaige Herrera Sweeps Western Swing

Points leader Gaige Herrera became the first rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle history – and the first NHRA competitor since 2009 – to sweep the three-race NHRA Western Swing, racing to the victory on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway at the 35th annual Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals.

Gaige Herrera

In the final round, Herrera put together a run of 6.775-seconds at 198.12 mph on his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki to defeat defending world champion Matt Smith, who broke on the starting line. Herrera, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, collected his sixth win in what has been a dominant 2023 campaign, rolling to consecutive wins in Denver, Seattle and then Sonoma on Sunday.

He reached the finals with wins against Ryan Oehler, Marc Ingwersen and Karen Stoffer, putting together an incredible three-race stretch in the first season Pro Stock Motorcycle ran the full Western Swing. Herrera also notched a Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge win and a victory in the Pro Stock Motorcycle All-Star Callout over the past three weeks, becoming just the eighth different competitor in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history to sweep the Western Swing.

“I can’t even put this into words,” Herrera said. “To be able to do this and accomplish what we have over the past three weeks, it’s incredible. The Denver win got us the momentum and the drive to keep pushing forward to get the sweep, and to do it, I never thought I would add my name to that part of history.

“I try to focus on the big picture, but as soon as go on the starting line, I’m focused on what I need to do. The class is tough, but I have one bad machine. The team has my back and I was able to do my job today. I’m not a big person to show emotion, but when that win light came on, I was screaming and yelling in my helmet. To do what all of this, I’m out of words. I don’t talk much as it is, but this is just an incredible feeling.”

 

Smith advanced to the finals for the second time this season and 73rd time in his career with victories against Lance Bonham, Steve Johnson and Eddie Krawiec.

 

Round 1 Eliminations

W – Marc Ingwersen / 0.05 / 6.876 / 195.59
L – Kelly Clontz / 0.121 / 6.961 / 192.63
The No. 8 PSM qualifier is 14 – 6 in Rd. 1 here. Marc Ingwersen beat Clontz in Rd. 1 in Norwalk this year. This (#9) equals Kelly’s best starting spot of the year. Ingwersen is 1 – 0 against Clontz in prior events. Ingwersen with the starting line advantage and the win.

W – Angie Smith / 0.178 / 6.781 / 200.62
L – Chase Van Sant / broke
Angie Smith wins 68% of her Rd. 1 races when she has lane choice. Chase Van Sant is 5 – 2 in Rd. 1 this year. Smith is 1 – 0 against Van Sant in prior events. Smith’s bike dies after the burnout, the they get it to fire. Then Van Sant’s bike dies and they can’t get the bike to start. Smith will have a freebie. Smith is straight the groove with her quickest pass of the weekend for the win.

W – Steve Johnson / 0.045 / 6.785 / 196.16
L – Jianna Evaristo / 0.039 / 6.82 / 196.56
The #7 PSM qualifier hasn’t won a round here since 2018. Jianna Evaristo is 2 – 5 in Rd. 1 this year. Steve Johnson is 3 – 4 in Rd. 1 this year. Johnson is 4 – 1 against Evaristo in prior events. Evaristo with the starting line advantage, but Johnson has the difference made upo by the time they went by the Christmas tree and never trailed from there on for the win. Johnson with his quickest pass of the weekend for the win. Evaristo matches her qualifying time in the losing effort.

W – Karen Stoffer / 0.034 / 6.868 / 193.99
L – Chris Bostick / 0.01 / 6.916 / 194.16
Karen Stoffer is 131 – 129 in Rd. 1 in her career. Chris Bostick is making his 44th start. This is the first time Stoffer and Bostick have faced each other in eliminations. Bostick with a great light, but Stoffer has the lead by 330 feet and never trailed from there on for the win. Karen Stoffer’s MOV: 0.0248 seconds (approximately 7 feet).

W – Fred Camarena / 0.06 / 6.913 / 195.48
L – Hector Arana Jr / 0.049 / 6.94 / 199.91
Hector Arana Jr. is 13 – 2 in Rd. 1 when qualified #4. Freddie Camarena is making his 63rd start. Arana Jr is 5 – 0 against Camarena in prior events. Arana Jr with the starting line advantage, but bogged early. Camarena has the lead as they go by the Christmas tree and never trails from there on for the win. He makes his quickest pass of the weekend, but will give up lane choice to Stoffer in the next round.

W – Eddie Krawiec / 0.117 / 6.818 / 198.03
L – John Hall / 0.034 / 7.853 / 123.64
Eddie Krawiec is 33 – 2 in Rd. 1 when qualified #3. John Hall is 1 – 9 against Krawiec. 9 losses ties his most losses against any opponent. Hall with the starting line advantage, but Krawiec chases him down by 500 feet and never trails from there on for the win. He will give up lane choice to A. Smith in the next round.

W – Matt Smith / 0.043 / 6.795 / 199.05
L – Lance Bonham / -0.334 / 7.618 / 180.5
Matt Smith is 6 – 1 in Rd. 1 this year. Lance Bonham is making his 9th start. He beat Matt Smith in their only meeting (Gainesville, 2022). Bonham goes red to give Smith the win. He will give up lane choice to Johnson in the next round

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.07 / 6.729 / 199.11
L – Ryan Oehler / 0.081
The last time the No. 1 PSM qualifier lost in Rd. 1 at this event was 2007 (A. Sampey). The No. 1 qualifier has won this race 4 times (in 10 final round appearances). Since 2021 the #16 PSM qualifier is 4 – 26 in Rd. 1. This is the first time Herrera and Oehler have faced each other in eliminations. Herrera with the starting line advantage and makes the quickest pass of the round for the win. He will have lane choice over Ingwersen in the next round. Oehler makes a quick move toward the centerline and crosses it.

Round 2 Eliminations

W – Eddie Krawiec / 0.064 / 6.762 / 199.23
L – Angie Smith / -0.002 / 6.814 / 199.7
Krawiec is 19 – 7 against Smith in prior events. Smith is a couple ticks too quick on the tree and turns on the red light to give Krawiec the win. Krawiec is straight down the groove with his quickest pass of the weekend for the win.

W – Karen Stoffer / 0.13 / 15.579 / 43.01
L – Fred Camarena / -0.157 / 6.981 / 193.46
Stoffer is 1 – 0 against Camarena in prior events. Camarena goes red to give Stoffer the win. Stoffer makes a move toward the centerline and clicks it off. She coast down the track for the win.

W – Matt Smith / 0.01 / 7.16 / 194.46
L – Steve Johnson / 0.036 / 12.626 / 55.05
Smith is 23 – 14 against Johnson in prior events. Smith with a great light, but then spun the tire and made a move toward the centerline. Johnson has the lead and then his bike quit and he sits up on the bike. Smith reeled it in for the win. He will give up lane choice to Krawiec in the semifinal.

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.044 / 6.836 / 196.1
L – Marc Ingwersen / -0.016 / 6.895 / 196.53
Herrera and Ingwersen have each won 1 time against the other in prior events. Ingwersen goes red to give Herrera the win. He will have lane choice over Stoffer in the semifinal.

SEMI-FINAL Eliminations

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.029 / 6.793 / 195.28
L – Karen Stoffer / 0.034 / 6.926 / 191.97
This is the first time Stoffer and Herrera have faced each other in eliminations. Herrera with the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. Herrera is advancing to his seventh final round.

W – Matt Smith / 0.088 / 6.819 / 198.23
L – Eddie Krawiec / 0.047 / 6.86 / 199.52
Krawiec is 31 – 23 against Smith in prior events. Krawiec with the starting line advantage, but Smith chases him down in the lights for the win in a close one. Matt Smith’s MOV: 0.0007 seconds (approximately 2 inches). Smith is advancing to his second final this season and 73rd final round of his career.

 

FINAL Eliminations

W – Gaige Herrera / 0.062 / 6.775 / 198.12
RU – Matt Smith / broke
Herrera is 1 – 0 against Smith in prior events and this is the first time they have faced each other in a final round. Smith can’t get the bike to fire and Herrera gets the freebie. Herrera is straight down the groove for the win. He wins his sixth Wally and he sweeps the Western Swing.

Gaige Herrera


Saturday Qualifying

Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Gaige Herrera continued his dominant season on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, winning the first-ever NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle All-Star Callout as part of this weekend’s 35th annual Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals.

In the final round of the Pro Stock Motorcycle All-Star Callout, Herrera went 6.756-seconds at 196.42 mph on his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki to defeat Angie Smith and collect yet another win in a bonus event in 2023. Adding in his three wins in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, that gives the points leader four specialty race wins. Herrera’s Friday pass of 6.728 at 199.94 held up to hand him a seventh No. 1 qualifier this season. On Sunday, he’ll also look to become the first rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle history to sweep the three-race NHRA Western Swing.

“It’s been amazing,” Herrera said. “I was out of breath after that. It was a big one and I wanted it really bad. There’s nothing like winning a Wally, but to win this first Callout for the class is pretty cool. It’s awesome for the whole team and I’m so happy right now. The amount of effort this team puts into these bikes is really amazing and it’s all paid off.

ROUND ONE
W – Angie Smith, 6.802, 199.43
L – Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.781, 199.37

W – Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.771, 199.91
L – Marc Ingwersen, 6.854, 197.74

W – Hector Arana Jr, 6.791, 199.88
L – Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.006, 196.47

W – Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.745, 200.32
L – Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.873, 196.44

SEMIFINALS
W – Angie Smith, 6.785, 200.95
L – Eddie Krawiec, 6.882, 200.59

W – Gaige Herrera, 6.732, 200.59
L – HectorArana Jr, Broke

FINAL
W – Gaige Herrera, 6.756, 196.42
L – Angie Smith, 8.753, 98.39.

“This is special because a win like this takes a lot as a team. You get bragging rights and something like this is good for the sport and the class. We’re in a great position (to sweep the Western Swing). I’ve got all the confidence in the world in my team. I’m very excited and we’ll see what happens.”

Matt Smith qualified second thanks to his 6.729 at 200.23 from Friday, while Eddie Krawiec’s 6.771 at 199.1 put him third.

1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.728, 199.94
2. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.729, 200.23
3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.771, 199.91
4. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.791, 199.88
5. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.792, 198.17
6. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.802, 199.43
7. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.820, 198.64
8. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.829, 198.03
9. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.840, 198.06
10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.844, 194.24
11. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.867, 195.79
12. Chris Bostick, EBR, 6.909, 192.60
13. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.926, 195.53
14. John Hall, Buell, 6.956, 193.18
15. Lance Bonham, Buell, 7.185, 190.51
16. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 8.814, 96.74
Did Not Qualify:
17. Scott Bottorff, broke


Friday Qualifying

Gaige Herrera, who has a chance to sweep the Western Swing this weekend in Pro Stock Motorcycle, started the race on a strong note, going to the No. 1 position on his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki with a run of 6.728 at 199.94. That puts the points leader on track for an impressive seventh No. 1 qualifier this season. It’s also the start of a busy weekend for the standout rider. Along with competing in the Pro Stock Motorcycle All-Star Callout on Saturday, Herrera has a chance to make history on Sunday and he is excited to be part of it.

“We made some changes on the second pass and were able to go to the top,” Herrera said. “I would say I enjoy all this more. Being busy and running around, I like it, and hopefully I’m able to do well in the Callout. For me, it takes me back to where I came from when it comes to racing. It was always non-stop and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be exciting. I never expected to have a chance (to sweep the Western Swing). I just have to prepare myself and do my job mentally.”

Defending world champ M. Smith is currently second after going 6.729 at 200.23, making the only 200-mph run of Friday. A. Smith is third thanks to her run of 6.818 at 199.64 in the opening session.

1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.728, 199.94
2. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.729, 200.23
3. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.818, 199.64
4. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.821, 197.88
5. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.829, 198.03
6. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.835, 198.70
7. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.867, 195.79
8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.885, 190.65
9. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.887, 194.32
10. Chris Bostick, EBR, 6.909, 192.60
11. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.947, 189.73
12. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.955, 197.02
13. John Hall,Buell, 7.026, 191.95
14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.196, 186.98
15. Lance Bonham, Buell, 7.331, 183.77
16. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 9.512, 90.86.
Not Qualified: 17. Scott Bottorff, broke.


ABOUT NHRA
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.

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