More History On The Line for Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Gaige Herrera at PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

240617 PlayNHRA named title sponsor of Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park [678]

DINWIDDIE, VA – June 20, 2024 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Chasing history has been nothing new for Gaige Herrera the past two seasons, but the reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion has a chance add another incredible mark at this weekend’s PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Herrera is currently tied with legendary Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden for the most consecutive wins and round wins in NHRA history, picking up his ninth straight win – and 35th straight round win – during his victory two weeks ago at Bristol Dragway in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series.

A win in Richmond this weekend would give Herrera 10 consecutive victories, which has never been achieved in NHRA’s 73-year history. Herrera hasn’t lost in 2024 on his RevZilla/Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki, winning the first four races of the year. He also hasn’t been defeated since last September, winning the final five events of 2023 en route to his dominant first world title.

He’s set a multitude of records along the way and this is another major one for the standout, but Herrera is simply trying to focus on making solid runs this weekend.

“That’s the approach I have to go with,” Herrera said. “You never know what’s going to happen. It’s hard to say you’re just going to go out and break the record. There’s so many different aspects that play into it as far as the bike, myself and all the other competitors.

“But leaving Bristol, I feel like I conquered something. Last year, it beat me in the ground a little (losing in the final on a red light). To get the win there, I was ecstatic. It almost felt like I won the championship all over again.”

In 2022, Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won in Richmond and this year’s event will again be broadcast on FS1, including eliminations at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 23. This weekend also marks the first time all four pro categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle) will take part in three qualifying sessions on Saturday.

Herrera is looking forward to that, as well as making his NHRA debut at Virginia Motorsports Park. He has a wealth of previous experience at the standout facility in other series, but this marks his first time competing at VMP in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Smith is the defending event winner and he also qualified No. 1 in Bristol, defeating Herrera in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in Thunder Valley. They had a memorable showdown in eliminations, with Herrera getting the victory in the semifinals en route to the event win as their rivalry continues to heat up.

They will rematch on Saturday as part of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge – with the other matchup featuring Jianna Evaristo and Richard Gadson – and Herrera is eager to get to VMP for a busy weekend. He’s also a fan of the three qualifying sessions on Saturday, hoping it prepares him well for a chance to make history on Sunday.

“Having three qualifiers in one day, it brings a lot more excitement for the riders and the fans. I like it a lot,” said Herrera, who has 15 career victories dating back to the start of the 2023 season. “As a competitive person, it keeps you in the groove and keeps you ready. I’m really looking forward to it. I think it will be great.

“Richmond has a nice, smooth surface and it’s fast. Even with the heat, it’s going to be a nice surface and it should be really good. It’s a great facility and I’m glad the NHRA is going back there.”

Pro Stock is returning to the facility for the first time since 2019, bringing another huge field to Virginia Motorsports Park. Bo Butner, making his first Pro Stock start of 2024, and five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., who won the most recent race in Bristol, are the only active winners at the track, with several young standouts like Dallas Glenn, Troy Coughlin Jr., who won in Epping, and Aaron Stanfield making their first Pro Stock appearance at VMP. Butner was the most recent winner, getting the win in 2019, while Coughlin won in 2000.

Glenn is the current points leader, but both Greg Anderson and reigning world champion Erica Enders are close behind. Glenn, Anderson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. all have two victories this season, while Enders won the season-opener in Gainesville.

In Top Fuel, Force is after her first victory of the year, hoping to hold off a loaded field that includes reigning world champ and points leader Doug Kalitta, Bristol winner Tony Schumacher, Shawn Langdon and Justin Ashley, who each have two wins in 2024, Antron Brown, Steve Torrence and Top Fuel newcomer Tony Stewart.

Austin Prock took over Funny Car driving duties for Hight at the start of the 2024 season and has enjoyed instant success, picking up two event wins and the points lead. He’ll look to keep rolling against defending world champ Matt Hagan, 16-time world champion John Force, J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III, three-time world champ Ron Capps.

Back in Richmond will be the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+, the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the Pingel NHRA Top Fuel Motorcycle Series and Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Mountain Motor Pro Stock.

Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which is the main entertainment hub in the pits, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music and much more. Race fans at VMP 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 event winners.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Richmond. This opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying features three rounds of action on Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET, with eliminations beginning at 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 23. Television coverage includes qualifying action at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. Finals coverage starts at 5 p.m. on Sunday on FS1. Perseverance.

To purchase tickets to the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals on June 21-23 at Virginia Motorsports Park, visit https://nhra.com/tickets. All children 12 and under will be admitted free in the general admission area with a paid adult. For more information about NHRA, including the full 2024 schedule, visit www.NHRA.com.

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About Mission Foods

MISSION®, owned by GRUMA, S.A.B. de C.V., is the world’s leading brand for tortillas and wraps. MISSION® is also globally renowned for flatbreads, dips, salsas and Mexican food products. With presence in over 112 countries, MISSION® products are suited to the lifestyles and the local tastes of each country. With innovation and customer needs in mind, MISSION® focuses on the highest quality, authentic flavors, and providing healthy options that families and friends can enjoy together. For more information, please visit https://www.missionfoods.com/

About NHRA

NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 20 national events featuring the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+, NHRA Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown™, NHRA Holley EFI Factory X and Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock at select national events. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and NHRA Street Legal™. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street® program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League® for youth ages 5 to 17. With 110 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services® (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv®, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates three racing facilities: Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park; and In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Source: National Hot Rod Association

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series

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