Gaige Herrera’s dream season continued when he broke a record held by his crew chief Andrew Hines’ brother, Matt Hines, on a day overshadowed by the unfortunate high-speed crash of Angie Smith at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis at the 12th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Smith was transported to the hospital and suffered two broken feet and road rash.
Herrera tied Matt Hines for the most No. 1 qualifiers in a single season in Pro Stock Motorcycle history, securing his 11th top spot in 12 PSM races with Friday’s run of 6.716 at 201.79 on his Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki. Hines set the mark in 1998 and Herrera matched the mark more than 25 years later as he continued his dominant season. The points leader made two more quality runs on Saturday, taking plenty of momentum into Sunday as he aims to pick up his first win in St. Louis and his eighth victory of the season.
“This is very cool. I just have to give it up to Andrew (Hines, crew chief) and all the guys at the shop and Matt, included,” Herrera said. “They’re the ones that make that possible. To be able to tie Matt and get that many No. 1 qualifiers in one season, it’s incredible. There have been a lot of remarkable, crazy, things I’ve accomplished so far this year but to add something like this to it is pretty cool.
“We tried to do different things on the bike today, the track is kind of a little tricky for us, so I feel like we made good passes considering. We’ll go back and go over all our data and be ready for tomorrow. All in all, I felt pretty good on the bike and it should be good tomorrow.”
Defending world champion and defending event winner Matt Smith took second with a 6.766 at 201.76 and Eddie Krawiec bumped to third thanks to his 6.773 at 201.25.
Eliminations for the NHRA Midwest Nationals begin at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.716, 201.79 vs. 14. Joey Gladstone, Buell, 7.061, 160.69; 2. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.766, 201.76 vs. 13. Chris Bostick, EBR, 7.026, 187.63; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.773, 201.25 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.953, 193.82; 4. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.774, 198.70 vs. 11. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.880, 198.93; 5. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.796, 199.14 vs. 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.879, 196.85; 6. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.841, 197.31 vs. 9. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.874, 196.44; 7. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 6.870, 195.48 vs. 8. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.874, 197.88.