MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 29) - Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. secured the 10th low qualifier award of his young career Saturday by winning the pole for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
But Arana Jr. wants to do well on race days, too, and he'll be one of the riders to beat Sunday.
"The outlook looks good," Arana Jr. said. "The bike has been very consistent, I've been riding well. I've got to go out there and do it."
Arana Jr. earned his third No. 1 of the season with a blistering run during Saturday's opening session, the third attempt of the weekend. He whipped down the quarter-mile with a track-record pass of 6.809 seconds at 195.70 mph, a mark that was nearly two-hundredths faster than the second-place bike.
"The conditions were great," Arana Jr. said. "We were able to tune to the conditions. From last night to this morning, they were pretty close, so we were able to make adjustments. As you could see, the adjustments we made worked out and we ran better."
Not only has Arana Jr. been consistent - his four qualifying laps were within .045 seconds across different weather and track conditions - but he's been lightning fast. Arana Jr.'s Buell was the fastest motorcycle in all four qualifying sessions this weekend.
Still, he was somewhat surprised by the Q3 elapsed time that earned him the pole.
"You always hope you are going to run better," Arana Jr. said. "But I was really surprised we ran that fast."
The full-time college student now faces No. 16 qualifier John Hall in the first round of eliminations Sunday. Hall, the final bike to make it in the field, had a top pass of 6.987 seconds at 189.52 mph.
Arana Jr. has raced to the semifinals in 10 of the 12 races this season, including three final-round appearances.
"I'm looking forward and living in the present," Arana Jr. said. "In drag racing, you're only as good as your last run."
Source: Lucas Oil Racing