POMONA, Calif. - Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. closed out a successful sophomore season with a second-round finish in Sunday's Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway.
The second-year driver finished third in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings a season after he was runner-up for the championship and won the Auto Club Road to the Future Award as NHRA's top rookie.
"I can't complain," Arana Jr. said. "We've had a great year. Between parts breaking and pushing everything to the limit, everything's worn out. We're running tired motors."
In 16 races this year, Arana Jr. reached the final three times and the semifinals 12 times. He won at least one round in all but one event and captured three No. 1 qualifiers.
In Pomona, Arana Jr. qualified No. 5 and squared off against John Hall in the first round. Arana Jr. left first with a .038-second reaction time and then outran Hall with a pass of 6.890 seconds at 193.05 mph, while Hall went 7.165 seconds at 191.48 mph.
That put Arana Jr. against No. 4 qualifier Matt Smith, but a positioning error while staging led to a red light.
"I pre-staged, and after I pre-staged, I looked forward," Arana Jr. said. "I looked back at the Christmas Tree, and I was already staged. I was like, 'Man.'
I didn't know how shallow I was, so I rolled in a little bit deeper to make sure. I didn't even think I moved, and I'm staged. That put me a little deeper. I saw the light and let go of the clutch.
"I definitely was going for it because he ran an .82, and I wasn't running those numbers. I was definitely going for the light, but a .047, I couldn't believe that. I know I saw yellow, but, oh, well."
With a pair of top-three finishes in the points standings under his belt, Arana Jr. is hopeful for improvement in 2013 about his Lucas Oil Buell.
"We're definitely looking forward to next year," Arana Jr. said. "Everything will be freshened, woken up and ready to rock and roll."
Lucas Oil Racing