NORWALK, Ohio (June 24) — With his father and teammate sidelined with a shoulder injury, Hector Arana Jr. is the lone man carrying the Lucas Oil banner this weekend at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Proving he’s up for the task, Arana Jr. positioned his Lucas Oil Racing TV Buell a lofty third on the starting grid with a quick qualifying pass of 6.886 at 194.63 mph.
“We are right there with the top bikes and we know what to do on race day,” Arana Jr. said. “We were experimenting a little bit today, trying to get everything prepared and ready, not only for tomorrow but also looking ahead for the Countdown. We know what we want to do for tomorrow. We will definitely give it our best and see how it all pans out.”
Arana Jr. has plenty of confidence after racing to a runner-up finish at the last Pro Stock Motorcycle race in Englishtown, N.J. He actually had the quickest bike in that final, but a quicker start by his opponent, reigning world champ Jerry Savoie, allowed the win to slip through Arana Jr.’s fingers. It’s an outcome he doesn’t plan on repeating Sunday.
“I was upset with myself after getting beat on the tree but I’ve taken it as motivation and have been working on my lights since E-Town,” Arana Jr. said. “I’m confident in myself and my bike going into tomorrow.”
“I have a feeling the conditions we will face on race day might vary from what we had in qualifying. No matter what, we have a consistently fast bike. Sometimes you get a little greedy and want to be on top of the qualifying sheet and that just didn’t happen for us this time, but you can’t complain about being No. 3 overall. We’re happy.”
As the third qualifier, Arana Jr. will have lane choice over No. 14 qualifier Karen Stoffer in the opening round of eliminations. Stoffer topped out at 6.958 and 193.29 mph on her mount. The two riders have raced once this year with Arana Jr. taking the win.
“This is the first time in my NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle career that my dad isn’t racing alongside me,” Arana Jr. said. “It’s been a little different for me but everything race-wise is the same aside from seeing him on his Lucas Oil Buell. He’s still here helping tune the bike like he always does and he’s still a presence on the starting line for me, so not too much has changed.
“It’s definitely a bit strange without him racing, and I wish him a speedy recovery. I cannot wait to have him back out here!”
Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations start at 1 p.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 programming begins at 6 p.m., Sunday. Times are local and subject to change.
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