Rookie Arana Jr. ready to win title sponsor's main event
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16) – Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. is ready to step up his game at this weekend's 30th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
Arana Jr. has been the No. 1 qualifier in three of the last four races – all with a new engine named "Gracie," in honor of his mother. But the 22-year-old rookie is still looking for his first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory, and he'd love to get it done at his title sponsor's main event.
"I’m ready," Arana Jr. said. "I've been practicing and working at staying calm on race day so I can do well. We've been pretty good in qualifying, and now I'm focused on improving on race day. I've been going over my routine so when it comes to race day I don't have to think about it so much."
This weekend's race will be Arana Jr.'s ninth ever on a Pro Stock Motorcycle, so he's still learning the tricks of the trade, especially during race-day eliminations.
To help lessen his learning curve, Arana Jr. has been practicing his starting-line routine since the last NHRA race in Sonoma, Calif.
"I've been sitting on the bike and going through all the steps I have to make," Arana Jr. said. "I don't start it, but I'll sit on it and envision the Christmas Tree. I'll creep forward a little bit like I'm going into the beam, and then I'll go and get on the throttle and drop the clutch and do my run in my head. It's helped."
The idea is to do as many repetitions as possible to make his routine become second-nature - and to become a veteran in his rookie season.
"You do it over and over and over again, so when I'm nervous on Sunday, that's one less thing I have to think about," Arana Jr. said. "If I keep practicing and practicing, I won't have to think about it so much. It should be easier."
Arana Jr. holds down the No. 10 spot in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings with two races remaining before the 10-rider Countdown to the Championship.