Runner-up finish keeps Lucas Oil rider Arana in first place; Langdon a quarterfinalist HOUSTON (April 11) -- Defending world champion Hector Arana rode his Lucas Oil Buell V-Twin to his 11th career final round Sunday, padding his lead in the...
Runner-up finish keeps Lucas Oil rider Arana in first place; Langdon a quarterfinalist
HOUSTON (April 11) -- Defending world champion Hector Arana rode his Lucas Oil Buell V-Twin to his 11th career final round Sunday, padding his lead in the Full Throttle points to 40, or the equivalent of two full rounds of racing.
Arana's result at the 23rd annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park came at the expense of Steve Johnson, Jim Underdahl, and past series champion Matt Smith. Arana eliminated himself in the final by leaving before the green light, handing the trophy to Andrew Hines, who posted a beatable 6.998 at 196.02 mph.
"I did the best I could until the end," said Arana, visably upset with his -.102 second red light start in the final. "I just blew it; lost it.
"I was thinking about (his previous reaction times of .064 and .070 seconds) before the final round and I knew I wanted to improve a little bit. I just tried to relax and take the tree. I was very focused and I know I saw the (green) light. I guess I cut it too close.
"I'm going from one extreme to the other. I just haven't found my happy medium yet, but I will. It's still early in the year. We'll take this, go work on the bike to find more power, and go to the next race."
Fellow Lucas Oil racer Shawn Langdon opened the day with a fortunate win against Texan Troy Buff, logging a great .055-second reaction time to begin a tire-smoking 5.325 at 196.47 mph in his Lucas Oil/Speedco Top Fuel dragster. Langdon's saving grace was the problems Buff had in the other lane, which included his parachutes deploying before halftrack.
In the quarterfinals, Langdon drew Antron Brown and once again had traction issues. This time they were too much to overcome as Brown soared away to a 3.964 at 303.37 mph in front of Langdon's pedaling 4.806 at 166.39 mph.
"No one won in that lane," Langdon said, referring to the right side of the racetrack. "When you're racing Antron you have to bring it and we just had too much for the track to hold. We didn't want to be there for the taking but we didn't want to give it away either.
"You take what you can out of this race. We're learning things every time we go down the track so we'll take this car to Vegas and see what we can do there to go more rounds. We were No. 1 qualifier in Vegas last year so we know how to go fast there."
Up next for Langdon is the 11th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Arana next races April 30-May 2 in St. Louis.