Gaige Herrera runs a quarter-mile clinic on his Gen III Suzuki Hayabusa.

Gaige Herrera got his 2023 Pro Stock season off to a killer start with a win in the class at Gainesville on his new Gen III Suzuki Hayabusa. The Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki rider first joined the team back in November and only got his first passes on the new bike a couple of weeks back.

At Gainesville, he grabbed attention early with a 6.685-second/203.49 mph run that set the track’s top-speed record in the class and marked the sixth-fastest top speed in Pro Stock history. Herrera kept the momentum up through the weekend, taking wins in every round until grabbing his first Pro Stock win with an easy victory over Angie Smith.

“It was a surreal weekend. The new Gen III Suzuki Hayabusa is a dream to ride. There were a lot of firsts for me. My first number one qualifier, a personal best 6.68-second elapsed time, and my first win,” Herrera said in a team press release. “I never thought this would be possible. I’ve got to thank the whole Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team and Andrew Hines for seeing the potential in me. It’s amazing being on a team of this level that loves to drag race as much as I do and wants to win as badly as I do. This is a special weekend and I hope there’s more to come.”

Team crew chief Andrew Hines added, “I saw something in Gaige last year during the US Nationals. I was sitting at home with COVID watching the race on my couch for the first time in 30 years. His was the first bike I saw go down the track that weekend. I saw something special in him and he proved it today. With all the work our shop put in over the winter to develop the new Gen III Hayabusa bodywork and new Vance & Hines billet four-cylinder engine cases, plus to debut a new rider, I feel like we earned this one through preparation.”

Herrera’s teammate, the legendary Eddie Krawiec, was one of the riders taken down during the rookie’s impressive weekend, losing to the young rider during the second round on Sunday.

Follow along as Herrera and the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team head to the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, April 28–30.