GAIGE HERRERA CAPTURES HIS NINTH NO. 1 QUALIFIER OF THE SEASON IN READING
This isn’t a recording – Gaige Herrera is the No. 1 qualifier in NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
Herrera, who is in his first year piloting the Vance & Hines-powered Suzuki, was in great form at the Pep Boys Nationals in Reading, Pa.
Herrera clocked a 6.672-second elapsed time at 202.94 mph, both track records at Maple Grove Raceway, to grab his ninth No. 1 qualifier in 10 races this season.
“I’m very confident, and I have to give a lot of credit to the Vance & Hines Mission Suzuki team,” Herrera said. “Andrew (Hines) and all the guys at the shop they are basically just showing off their hard work. To go out there and run that, I’m very happy with it, and Andrew is very happy with it. We are basically a tenth and a half off a Pro Stock car, which is where we should be. I’m going into (Sunday) with all the confidence in the world, and I’m glad to get as many points as I can as part of the Countdown.”
If Herrera gets one more No. 1 qualifying spot this season, he will tie Matt Hines’ PSM record of 10 No. 1 qualifiers in a single season. Herrera had a massive points lead after the regular season ended at the U.S. Nationals, and it was reduced to 20 points at the start of the Countdown in Reading.
Herrera started rebuilding his lead with 12 bonus points in qualifying. He has an incredible 29-3 elimination round record this season.
“I came into here with a (big lead), and I lost it in the Countdown and my goal is to get as many points as I can again,” Herrera said. “That. Was my goal, I told Andrew that, and he’s always shooting to be No. 1, so he was all for it.”
Herrera wants to add to Vance & Hines’s storied history at Maple Grove Raceway. The team has won in Reading ten times – Eddie Krawiec (five), Matt Hines (three) and Andrew Hines (two).
“They have a lot of victories at a lot of different tracks,” Herrera said. “This one they have quite a few. They have a lot of data here as far as which groove does what as far as going down the track for first gear and that helps me out a lot. I have made flawless runs so far and Andrew and Eddie are all studying things, and we like to try to try things out of the box, and I think that’s what helps us.”
Herrera has six national event wins and one runner-up finish in this season’s nine races. He talked about the early 9:30 a.m. start for raceday.
“Mentally, it is a little earlier, but as long as it is not going to be a late night for us, we should be fresh in the morning,” Herrera said. “It is going to be chilly out for sure, and it is going to. Throw everyone’s tune-up off, and it is going to be interesting (Sunday). It should be record-setting conditions, but you never know, and anything can happen.
“I going into (Sunday) with all the confidence in the world. We are going to celebrate the No. 1 qualifier and be ready for (Sunday). I feel how you starts molds into a mood, and qualifying good just gives the whole team confidence, and I’m excited for the entire Countdown.”