SONOMA, Calif. (July 26) – Just like the human body, NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle’s are naturally aspirated, meaning they take in oxygen without assistance from an external device. Since the last time Hector Arana Jr. piloted his Lucas Oil Racing TV Buell down the quarter-mile at the previous event in mile-high Denver, there are two words with extra meaning at this weekend’s 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals — Inhale. Exhale.
“We are excited to be back at sea level,” said Arana, an 11-time national event winner. “I just can’t wait to go fast. Maybe we’ll see that illusive 200-mph run out there. We are gunning for it, and we’re going to do everything we can to get it for our team and Lucas Oil. We’ll have to see how it all unfolds and what the weather does for us.”
Currently, Arana holds the time slip for the fastest Pro Stock Motorcycle run in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series history – 199.88 mph, posted in 2015 in Charlotte. The 200-mph barrier for the NHRA bikes is the next big milestone in drag racing. With the right atmospheric conditions, Sonoma Raceway is undoubtedly primed to host the first 200-mph motorcycle party.
Sonoma Raceway is even more special this weekend for the two-wheeled missiles as the cream of the crop race for money and bragging rights in the Mickey Thompson Tire Pro Bike Battle, which will be contested Saturday.
“It’s a great racetrack and a big weekend with the Battle going on as well as the national event,” Arana said. “It’s our all-star race, the best of the best racing for big money. It’s huge to be involved and even bigger to win it all.
“Mickey Thompson stepping up as title sponsor is great. They’re the people that make these awesome tires that allow us to go as fast as we do so they’re everything to us. I would love to win the Battle and then double-up and win the race the next day. Both races are really important to me and, man, I really want another Wally (trophy).”
With the Pro Stock Motorcycle class taking the center stage in wine country, the outpouring of support and respect NHRA fans show to the sports top professional motorcycle racing class encourages Arana and his peers.
“It’s really good to have fans that support you,” Arana, a 28-year-old resident of East Northport, N.Y., said. “There are a lot of fans that like the bikes but they really support the cars and dragsters so when you get out there and you’ve got a lot of bike fans really supporting you, it’s awesome. It makes you feel good. You just get a real good feeling out there when you’ve got a bunch of people rooting for you. It’s nice.”
Arana took his Lucas Oil Racing TV Buell to the Sonoma Raceway winner’s circle in 2013. He raced to the No. 1 qualifying spot in Sonoma in his rookie of year award-winning season of 2011.
“We’re carrying the Lucas Oil banner and we’re doing pretty good,” Arana said. “We just have to keep doing a good job and keep moving forward.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:15 and 7 p.m., Friday. The first two rounds of the Pro Bike Battle, which also count as qualifying sessions, are slated for 1 and 4:15 p.m., Saturday, with the Battle final at 5:30 p.m. Eliminations for the Sonoma Nationals begin at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry the first two rounds of qualifying action live from 8-9 p.m., Friday, and live eliminations from 1-4 p.m., Sunday. (All times are local and subject to change.)