In Pro Stock Motorcycle, it was back to business as usual – at least in 2023 – for Gaige Herrera, as the points leader won for the seventh time this year, taking a 52-point lead over Matt Smith with his Charlotte triumph into this weekend’s 12th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway.
It was a big moment for Herrera, who didn’t win in Indy or the playoff opener and watched Smith take the points lead with his Reading win. Herrera, though, bounced back with his first career playoff win and will look to continue that momentum in St. Louis. Smith, though, has impressed at the facility, winning two straight races and five overall at the facility. Herrera will also have to contend with standouts like Hector Arana Jr., who is 54 points out of first, Angie Smith, rookie Chase Van Sant, Eddie Krawiec and Jianna Evaristo.
“My bike was consistent again (in Charlotte),” Herrera said. “Losing the last two races (in Indy and Reading) kind of lit a fire under me. After Reading I was kind of upset because we really couldn’t pinpoint what happened and that basically made me dig down. The bike came off the trailer (in Charlotte) flying.
“I’ve got a really fast motorcycle compared to a lot of others out here, so it makes it look easy, but at the same time, they’re all very tough competitors. I love the pressure. My dream would be to race Matt in the final in Pomona for the championship.”
The NHRA Midwest Nationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports, Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown and the new Factory X presented by Holley category. It is also the penultimate race in the Pro Mod’s “Road to the Championship” as they get close to crowning a championship. The ET Racing Showcase, Jr. Arch Shootout, Budweiser Challenge, high school challenge and Jr. Dragster Shootout will all take place during the weekend as well.
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 World Wide Technology 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 St. Louis event winners.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Sept. 29, and the final two rounds on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 1. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 29 and 2 p.m. ET on Sunday Oct. 1, with eliminations starting at 3 p.m. ET on FS1 on Sunday.
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