DENVER (July 22) - Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. left the Mopar Mile High Nationals with the Bandimere Speedway track record for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. But he wanted more, much more.
Arana Jr. lowered the track record in the first round, but he lost in the semifinals when the engine failed.
"It makes you feel good, and it helps take away the sting," Arana Jr. said of the track record. "We are pushing these bikes to the limit, to the extreme, and these motors are like time bombs because of that. I guess the altitude put a little extra strain on the motor and that's what did it."
Arana Jr. scored his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and hoped to end Harley-Davidson's streak of eight consecutive victories since his win in Phoenix last October.
In Sunday's first round against Angie Smith, Arana Jr. made a pass of 7.237 seconds at 184.90 mph that set the track record for elapsed time and swept him into the second round. There, he out-ran Michael Ray with a pass of 7.246 seconds at 183.15 mph that was the quickest of the round. Matched up with Eddie Krawiec in the semis, Arana Jr. left first, but the bike soon betrayed him.
"We're really bummed out," Arana Jr. said. "We are running these bikes so hard, and that's what happens. We need a break, we need something."
Arana Jr.'s riding remained stellar, with the only blemish coming after Smith left .107 seconds too soon in the first round, causing him to react early, too. But the victory was already secured.
"My reaction times this weekend were killer," Arana Jr. said. "I didn't have a light worse than a .030 the whole weekend. And I left first twice today."
Arana Jr. and the Lucas Oil team will continue to push their bikes in next weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals in an effort to return to victory lane.
"We are doing every little thing," Arana Jr. said. "Every time we get back, we take the bikes completely apart. Everything gets inspected. We've been getting 10 runs on some parts, and we're finding that if we would've made one more run, they would've broke. This has been a very expensive year for us, parts-wise, because we're breaking so much stuff in order to run the numbers that were running and to try to go to the finals against these guys."
Source: Lucas Oil Racing