Herrera Hoping To Extend Pro Stock Motorcycle Supremacy

Herrera

Gaige Herrera (NHRA photo)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After his incredible showing last year in the NHRA, reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Gaige Herrera returns to where his dominance started: the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

The NHRA returns to iconic Gainesville Raceway for its season kickoff this weekend starting a new era, as Mission Foods begins its multi-year partnership as the new title sponsor of the four pro classes.

Herrera, rider of the RevZilla/Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki, kicked off his season last year with an impressive win in Gainesville. From there, he continued to impress fans and reign supreme over the Pro Stock Motorcycle field.

“Coming back to Gainesville as now the defending champion, I feel like there’s more pressure now than there was last year,” Herrera said. “I raised the bar for myself very high last year. I have a lot I have to live up to. All in all, I’m very excited. I have a new teammate (Richard Gadson) and a new primary sponsor in RevZilla.

“There’s going to be a lot of awesome things to happen in the offseason, so it’s definitely every exciting to get back to Gainesville.”

Not only did Herrera win the season-opener in Gainesville, he was also the No. 1 qualifier, which proved to be a theme for the year. He collected 14 of the 15 No. 1 positions during the season, which set a single-season mark in the class, as did his 11 victories.

Last year, Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock), and Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won in Gainesville. This year’s race will be broadcast on FS1, including eliminations action on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.

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After his impressive season, the rest of the field will be eager to dethrone Herrera at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. Atop that list is six-time champ Matt Smith, a two-time Gatornationals winner.

Also in the mix will be Hector Arana Jr., Jianna Evaristo, Steve Johnson, Marc Ingwersen, reigning rookie-of-the-year Chase Van Sant, and Kelly Clontz.

“I just need to keep my head on straight,” Herrera said. “I can’t come in this weekend and expect to dominate again like I did last year. It’s a new year and I kind of have to put last year behind me and not really think about it and come back into it as last year and start at ground zero.”

Reigning Top Fuel world champion Doug Kalitta looks to keep rolling after winning his first world title to close out last season, taking on Brittany Force, Steve Torrence, Antron Brown, Justin Ashley and class newcomer Tony Stewart.

The Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout is back to open the year as well, pitting eight standouts (Torrence, Kalitta, Salinas, Force, Brown, Ashley, Shawn Langdon, and Josh Hart) against each other in a big-money specialty race on Saturday. Hart is the defending Callout winner.

In Funny Car, defending world champ Hagan looks for his third straight Gainesville win, and will try to get past the likes of J.R. Todd, Ron Capps, John Force, and Bob Tasca III to secure that result.

Six-time Pro Stock world champ Erica Enders will try to win in Gainesville for the first time, facing off against Greg Anderson, Aaron Stanfield, Matt Hartford, and Dallas Glenn, among others.

Action at Gainesville will also include the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+, and the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown.

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