Arana Sr. reaches semis at Firebird; Morgan exits early
PHOENIX (Oct. 16) – Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Sr. was all smiles after the Arizona NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway despite falling in the semifinals to Eddie Krawiec.
Why? For starters, Arana Sr. had a solid performance in Phoenix, qualifying No. 2 and winning two rounds for the first time in seven races.
But the main reason was that Arana Sr. watched his son Hector Arana Jr. win for the third time this season.
"The kid is showing me that he can do it," Arana Sr. said. "He's learned quick. His confidence is getting high. It's a good indication that I really don't need to worry about him anymore. He's proven it to me. He's shown me more than one time that he can do this job."
Arana Sr. can do the job, too, as he won the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship in 2009. But the last three races have been a bugaboo for him. Despite qualifying fourth, third and third, Arana Sr. couldn't make it past the first round because of mysterious electrical problems.
But Arana Sr. knocked off Matt Guidera in round one at Phoenix to get that monkey off his back, going 6.901 seconds at 194.60 mph. He then beat Gerald Savoie in the second round with a pass of 6.939 seconds at 193.82 mph.
But after a reaction time of .001 seconds in the semifinals against Eddie Krawiec, Arana Sr. ran 7.020 seconds at 191.73 mph to Krawiec's 6.959 at 193.90 mph.
"In the Countdown, I finally made it past the first round with no electrical problems or anything like that," Arana Sr. said. "I am pleased with my performance. Now I can go to Vegas and be more calm and able to concentrate on my program. Hopefully, I can go further."
Lucas Oil Ford Mustang driver Larry Morgan fell in the first round after inexplicably shaking the tires in his matchup against eventual race winner Vincent Nobile.
Morgan had qualified No. 9 and cut a solid .017 light. But the tires began to spin almost immediately, and Morgan aborted the run.
"Either we had too little track or too much clutch," Morgan said with a chuckle. "We just blew the tires off. We only made small changes. We took some clutch out, but the air was better. Being the first pair out is just difficult. They've just drug the track, and they've run the Fuel cars.
"Had we just left it a little bit lower, we may have gone through there. But, hey, it is what it is."