HOUSTON (April 26) - Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr., winner of the first two Pro Stock Motorcycle events of the 2013 season, stands No. 1 after two qualifying sessions at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, and he hopes his wave of success never crests.
"When you're doing so well, you have that extra confidence, you have that momentum," Arana Jr. said. "It's like a big wave, and I'm just trying to stay on top of that wave and ride it as long as I can."
Arana Jr. won the Pro Stock Motorcycle season-opening event in Gainesville, Fla., and then reached victory lane again at the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte last weekend. He's the first rider since Angelle Sampey in 2006 to win the first two races of the season.
Arana Jr. is hoping to join Matt Hines and Dave Schultz as the only riders to win the first three events of a season. Hines is the last rider to win the opening trio of races, going to victory lane in Gainesville, Atlanta, and Richmond, Va., in 1998. Schultz won the first four races of the 1991 season.
For now, though, Arana Jr. is only thinking about qualifying. His pass in Q2 was a tick slower (6.886 at 195.11 mph), but he still earned three bonus points for being the quickest rider in the session.
"We still ran a good number and still were the fastest of the session," Arana Jr. said. "We're staying consistent. This bike has been consistent from the beginning of the year. We plan on keeping this up. We're No. 1 today but tomorrow is another day, so we'll see what happens."
Arana Jr. will do anything possible on Saturday to remain No. 1 and enter eliminations on Sunday as the pole sitter.
"I hope to improve on that number," Arana Jr. said. "I think there will be some guys who get close to that. They'll look at their information overnight. We're going to run earlier, so the weather might be better. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I can improve as well as the other guys."
Houston is where Arana Jr. qualified for his first race in 2011, and he beat dad Hector Arana Sr. in the first round of that event. Last season, Arana Jr. set the Houston track elapsed time record and advanced to the final.
"I like this track," Arana Jr. said. "It was the first track I qualified at and I got my first round-win against my dad. Then I reached the final my second time out here, so maybe this time I can seal the deal."
Arana Jr.'s younger brother Adam Arana was No. 5 after two rounds with a top pass of 6.919 seconds at 194.24 mph. Arana Sr. is No. 6 with a 6.926 at 193.07 mph.
Qualifying for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals will resume at noon on Saturday. Eliminations will get under way at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will broadcast the qualifying show starting at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday and the eliminations show starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Sunday broadcast will air the semifinal and final rounds live.
Lucas Oil Racing