ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 2) – Hector Arana Jr. continued a consistent season of qualifying, grabbing the No. 3 spot for the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Arana Jr. has now qualified second twice and third twice in the four Pro Stock Motorcycle races of 2012. His best lap this weekend was 6.856 seconds at 194.21 mph, and he'll face No. 13 qualifier Jerry Savoie in the first round of Sunday's eliminations.
"Can't complain," Arana Jr. said. "We qualified third, and that's still pretty good. We haven't qualified worse than that at all this year, so we're on track. We're definitely doing better a lot better than we did last year. The only bummer is my dad's second, and we could meet in the semis."
The Aranas are on the same side of the ladder, meaning if they each win in the first and second rounds, they would face each other in the semifinals.
"The plan is to try to work our way there," Arana Jr. said. "May the best man win."
But first things first: Savoie, who made a best pass of 6.954 seconds at 191.65 mph. The two raced each other for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals title last September, when Arana Jr. scored his triumphant first career victory.
"It doesn't matter who I race," Arana Jr. said. "Every time I go up there on race day, I aim to race my lane, do my best, and hopefully everything works out."
Arana Jr. is looking for his first victory of the season after winning three times last year en route to claiming the Auto Club Road to the Future Awards as the top first-year competitor in NHRA. A win in Englishtown would cap a fun week for Arana Jr., who spent time Thursday in New York City with girlfriend Nicole Nobile, brother Adam and crew member Charles Gordon.
Friday, Arana Jr. made his top qualifying lap, and then Saturday, he posted two more solid passes. The elapsed time wasn't what he wanted in Q3 or Q4, but his speed was still better than 194 mph in each run.
"We still ran good," Arana Jr. said. "It spun the tire, so that threw us off. The bike's been pretty consistent. We just need to work on getting it faster and consistent."