Heading into the opening race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, this weekend’s 38th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, Pro Stock Motorcycle racers understand the challenge that awaits.
Gaige Herrera enjoyed a dominant regular season, winning six times, but opens the playoffs with just a 29-point advantage over Indy winner and defending world champ Matt Smith. The rest of the talented field includes Hector Arana Jr., Angie Smith, Eddie Krawiec, rookie Chase Van Sant and Steve Johnson.
Herrera may not be a big fan of the NHRA Countdown system right now. His huge 326 point lead over Matt Smith Racing shrinks to just 29 heading into the final six races. This is a huge boost for the defending champion, who looks to become the first PSM rider to reach 7 titles.
Pro Stock Motorcycle Points
1. Gaige Herrera 2,113
2. Matt Smith 2,084
3. Hector Arana Jr. 2,076
4. Eddie Krawiec 2,062
5. Angie Smith 2,056
6. Steve Johnson 2,042
7. Chase Van Sant 2,032
8. Marc Ingwersen 2,020
9. Jianna Evaristo 2,010
10. Kelly Clontz 2,000
11. Ryan Oehler 1,990
12. Chris Bostick 1,980
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as action from the Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category and the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Pro Stock group. After nitro qualifying, fans can enjoy a thrilling show from “NitroMike” and his “Walking Tall” P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander.
Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.
Race fans at Maple Grove Raceway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals event winners.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2 and 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 15 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 17. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday, 12:30 p.m. on Sunday on FS1, and then eliminations on FOX at 2 or 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, depending on local listings.