Herrera Continues No. 1 Qualifying Streak at NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals

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Vance & Hines Mission Suzuki Sets New Low E.T. Track Record

BREA, CA – June 26, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Despite a strong start to the race, including a fifth-straight lockout of the top qualifying spot, a pair of upset second-round losses brought an early end to the competition for the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle team at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, on Sunday.

Race Highlights

  • Gaige Herrera qualified number one for the fifth race in a row, and reset the track elapsed time record but failed to advance out of the second round following a mechanical problem.
  • Eddie Krawiec qualified fourth and advanced to the second round, losing on a holeshot to Suzuki rider Steve Johnson, the runner-up finisher at Norwalk.

Gaige Herrera

Gaige Herrera (79) sets elapsed time record at Summit Racing Motorsports Park.

Herrera came into the Norwalk round as the series points leader following a string of three straight wins to open the 2023 season, with a rare final-round loss two weeks ago at Bristol being the sole blemish to an otherwise perfect season. Picking up where he left off, Herrera rocketed to the top of the qualifying sheet in a rain-shortened session on Saturday, posting a 6.785-second/198.76 mph performance to extend his qualifying streak to five straight number-one starting positions.

In round one, Herrera showed his Gen 3 Suzuki Hayabusa continuing to be the fastest motorcycle in the class by making an unopposed 6.777-second/199.88 mph bye run to set a new Norwalk track record, a feat made even more impressive considering rules adjustments that added extra weight to the Suzuki Hayabusas after each of the previous two races. However, disaster struck in round two, when an engine failure caused him to fall short to Jianna Evaristo, who advanced against him with a 6.897-second/196.02 mph run to Herrera’s 6.988-second/189.76 mph pass.

“When I let go of the clutch off the starting line the motorcycle bogged a little bit. It felt like something wasn’t right. I was hoping we would make it to the finish line and get the win, but unfortunately, we didn’t,” Herrera said. “However, we continued the streak of being the number one qualifier and ran great considering the extra weight, so overall I’m happy. I’m excited to go to Denver for the next round. I’ve been there, but I’ve never raced there.”

Eddie Krawiec

After finding more speed Eddie Krawiec (7) has positive takeaways from Norwalk, OH.

Eddie Krawiec came into Norwalk hoping to rebound from an early exit at Bristol, and Krawiec got off to a strong start by qualifying in the fourth starting position with a 6.827-second/197.71 mph run.

Finding even more speed on Sunday, Krawiec defeated John Hall (7.039 seconds/194.38 mph) in the first round with a 6.791-second/200.98 mph pass that was the second quickest of the round. But in a repeat of his second-round matchup in Bristol, Krawiec succumbed to a second consecutive holeshot loss to Steve Johnson’s Gen3 Hayabusa. Krawiec’s 6.793-second/199.67 mph run was scuttled by a slow starting reaction time, forcing him to watch Johnson advance with a slower 6.848-second/195.90 mph pass.

“I’ve been struggling to get off the starting line, so I need to analyze what I’m doing and get back to the basics,” Krawiec said. “We made some changes coming into this race that resulted in better 60-foot times. It’s a huge progression for my Hayabusa. It’s a lot easier to tune and refine the package now, so I need to focus on cutting better, more consistent starting lights. We’ll go to Denver next and continue to give it our best shot.”

Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki crew chief Drew Hines explained how rules adjustments have added a cumulative 15 pounds of additional weight to the Suzuki Hayabusas following the races at Charlotte and Bristol, the added weight resulting in more stress on their engines, contributing to the premature failure in Herrera’s motorcycle.

“Unfortunately, we had an engine expire and didn’t make it to the finish line. We’re running our engines a lot harder than we have in the past. Revving and gearing them higher takes its toll, and in this case, a little earlier than we anticipated,” Hines said. “We’ll go to Denver and work off our notes from last year and try to get our Suzukis back in the winner’s circle. It will be our last event there because they’re shutting the track down after we’re done with that national event. It will be bittersweet for us because that was our home track for Vance & Hines for many years, and I started my career there. I hope we will come out with a win.”

After five of 15 rounds, Herrera and Krawiec currently sit first and fourth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle season championship with 552 and 328 points, respectively.

The Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team is back in action July 14-16 at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, CO.

For the latest Suzuki team news, race reports, and information visit SuzukiCycles.com/Racing/Drag-Racing.

About Suzuki

Suzuki Motor USA, LLC. (SMO) distributes Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automotive Parts, Accessories, and ECSTAR Oils & Chemicals via an extensive dealer network throughout 49 states. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide manufacturer of Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automobiles, Outboard Motors, and related products. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has business relations with 201 countries/regions. For more information, visit www.suzukicycles.com.

About Vance & Hines

The Vance & Hines brand has always been about enhancing the exhilaration of the motorcycle ride. It started over 40 years ago, when Terry Vance and Byron Hines were two young enthusiasts in the fledgling Southern California motorcycle drag race scene. Terry always wanted to go faster, and Byron knew how to make that happen. In short order, their on-track success and innovation drew the attention of other racers, riders and motorcycle manufacturers, which ultimately translated to commercial demand for their products and services. Today, the Company’s mission and activity is the same; make bikes go faster on the racetrack and take those learnings to make impactful products for riders around the world. Since the Company’s inception in 1979, it has run factory race programs in partnership with Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati and Harley-Davidson in drag racing, road racing and flat track. Vance & Hines is based in Santa Fe Springs CA and has its Racing Development Center in Brownsburg IN. Learn more about the company’s history and products at www.vanceandhines.com.

Source: Suzuki Motor USA, LLC

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