On Saturday at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Raceway, Gaige Herrera was crowned the Pro Stock Motorcycle champion while fields were set in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle to set the stage for an epic finish to the 2023 Camping World NHRA Drag Racing Season.
The qualifying leaders include defending Top Fuel winner Austin Prock, Matt Hagan, Greg Anderson, and Herrera, who locked up the title simply by qualifying for the 16-car field.
Prock leads in Top Fuel with a near record 3.636 in his Montana Brands/Rocky Mountain Twist dragster but most of the attention on Sunday will be focused on the championship battle that still features five possible contenders. Steve Torrence, Leah Pruett, Doug Kalitta, Mike Salinas, and Justin Ashley are all still mathematically in the running for the title.
The battle at the top is one of the closest in years as Torrence, Pruett and Kalitta are separated by a slim margin. Torrence qualified No. 2 with a 3.641 in the Capco dragster while Kalitta, who is 12 points behind is fifth quickest at 3.666. Pruett trails by 39 points and is qualified No. 6 at 3.674 while Salinas and Ashley are behind by 76 and 88 points respectively.
The top 10 cars in Top Fuel are qualified in the 3.6s which makes this one of the quickest fields in the history of the class.
Championship contender Robert Hight took over the top spot in Funny Car following a 3.844 in his Auto Club Camaro on Saturday night while his teammate, John Force is second at 3.862.
Matt Hagan and Bob Tasca III, the two other leading contenders for the Funny Car title, are qualified No. 4 and No. 6 respectively.
With Hagan leading Hight by 12 points and Tasca just 17 behind, its likely that whichever driver advances the furthest on Sunday will win the championship.
The rest of the Funny Car field is also quick with a near-record 4.02-second bump spot.
In Pro Stock, the drama could well be short lived as reigning and five-time champion Erica Enders needs only to win the first round of eliminations in order to clinch championship No. 6. Enders’ only rival is fellow five-time champ Greg Anderson, who made the quickest run in all four qualifying sessions with a best of 6.492 in his HendrickCars.com Camaro.
Anderson will kick off Sunday’s eliminations with a race against No. 16 qualifier Mason McGaha while Enders, the No. 3 qualifier, is paired with Elite teammate Fernando Cuadra Jr.
The Pro Stock field is also quick with all 16 qualifiers running 6.540 or better with just .062-second separating the entire field.
While Herrera has already clinched the 2023 Pro Stock Motorcycle title, there is still history to be made. Herrera comes to Pomona with 10 wins on the season, tying the record set by three-time world champ Matt Hines during his dominant 1998 season. Herrera has a shot for win No. 11 on Sunday and he’s got by far the best bike in the field.
Herrera’s primary rivals include No. 2 qualifier Hector Arana Jr., who rode his GETTRX Buell to a 6.729 while Eddie Krawiec, in search of his 50th win, will start from the No. 3 spot after a 6.734 best.
All 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifiers ran in the sixes with the top half of the field running 6.791 or quicker.
In addition to the four professional classes, winners will also be crowned on Sunday in the Lucas Oil Series classes, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Right Trailers Top Dragster and Right Trailers Top Sportsman.
2022 EVENT WINNERS
Austin Prock, Top Fuel; Cruz Pedregon, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Angie Smith, Pro Stock Motorcycle
Don Garlits, Doug Kalitta, Tony Schumacher, 6, TF; John Force, 16, FC; Greg Anderson, 14, PS; John Myers, Matt Smith, 5, PSM.
Top Fuel - 3.628 seconds by Clay Millican, Feb. '18; 338.94 mph by Brittany Force, Nov. ‘22
Funny Car - 3.822 seconds by Matt Hagan, Feb. '17; 337.33 mph byRon Capps, Nov. '22
Pro Stock - 6.480 seconds by Erica Enders, Nov. '14; 213.84 mph by Drew Skillman, Nov. '15
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.661 seconds by Gaige Herrera, Nov. 23; 202.94 by Angie Smith, Nov. 22.
Top Fuel - 3.623 sec. by Brittany Force, Sept. '19, Reading, Pa.; 338.94 mph by Brittany Force, Nov. ‘22, Pomona, Calif.
Funny Car - 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. '17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
Pro Stock - 6.450 sec. by Erica Enders, March '22, Gainesville, Fla.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May '14, Englishtown, N.J.
Pros Stock Motorcycle – 6.627 sec. by Gaige Herrera, Oct. 23, Dallas; 205.04 mph by Matt Smith, July ’21, Sonoma, Calif.
EVENT SCHEDULE (Pacific Time)
SUNDAY, Nov. 12
Pre-Race ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series eliminations begin at 10:30 a.m.
SUNDAY, Nov. 12, FS1 will televise two hour of qualifying coverage at 2:00 p.m. ET
SUNDAY, Nov. 12, FS1 will televise three hours of finals coverage at 4:00 p.m. ET
SUNDAY, Nov. 12, FS1 will televise a 30-minute post-race show at 7 p.m. ET.
Watch all day on NHRA.tv