Lucas Oil Racing press release
Aranas finish in grand style at NHRA Finals
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 13) – Both Lucas Oil Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle riders, the father and son tandem of Hector Arana Sr. and Hector Arana Jr., reached the semifinals of the Auto Club NHRA Nationals at Auto Club Raceway on Sunday and finished in the top five of the class' final points standings.
Arana Jr. capped off a terrific rookie season by finishing second in the final standings, while Arana Sr. clawed his way to fifth place.
Arana Jr. fell to Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Eddie Krawiec in the semifinals Sunday when the engine on his Lucas Oil Buell went sour in high gear. Arana Jr. was ahead of Krawiec before slipping to a pass of 6.863 seconds at 190.51 mph. Hines ran 6.831 seconds at 195.51 mph.
"I wanted to beat him," Arana Jr. said. "I cut a light on him, and we had him at the 60-foot and the eighth-mile. Then I think the motor started going away after that. It blew up in the final gear. I'm sure it wasn't happy from the eighth on. Oh, well. At least it held until almost the end of the year."
Arana Jr. finished the season with three victories, two runner-up finishes and six quarterfinal appearances. He also had a class-leading seven No. 1 qualifiers. Arana Jr. remains a leading contender for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award as NHRA's top rookie, an honor that will be announced at the awards banquet Monday night.
"Overall, it was a good season, being that it was my rookie year, first time out," Arana Jr. "I can't wait to get back to the shop, find some power, come back and show these guys who's boss. I've got a full season underneath my belt. Those last several runs, I felt like I was making perfect runs. I'm ready to go to Gainesville and start from the beginning."
Arana Sr. echoed his son's sentiments.
"Overall, a great year," Arana Sr. said. "We're going to go home, work hard. We know we're going to have to find some horsepower for next year, so we can stay competitive."
Arana Sr.'s season wasn't quite as spectacular as his son's, but he did have one No. 1 qualifier, five semifinal and three quarterfinal appearances. Arana Sr. unveiled a new Lucas Oil Buell in Indianapolis, but mechanical problems dropped him to ninth in points. He was still ninth two races ago, but back-to-back semifinals moved him up four spots in the points.
"I was all the down to ninth at one point," Arana Sr. said. "To end up back fifth is great. That means I don't have to change my plate number – save some money there. According to everything that happened this year, I am blessed that things went well. My son improved. Toward the end, I started relaxing some more and enjoying it. When that started happening, I also started going forward. I never realized how much pressure there is and how it can take away from your driving, the focus points."
Arana Sr. rode well Sunday, cutting a .008-second light in his first-round win over Jim Underdahl and a .017 light in the second round in beating Steve Johnson.
In the semifinals against, Arana Sr. staged a starting-line duel against Hines. After both drivers lit the pre-stage bulb, they sat for several seconds before Hines staged first, much to the delight of the crowd.
"I just didn't want to stage first," Arana Sr. said. "I guess he didn't want to stage first either. I was determined that I was not going to go in. The crowd got what they wanted. I could hear them cheering on and on. I just wish I could've looked over and seen it, but I was focused.
"What made it harder was the sun was right on us, so it was hard to look at the Tree."
Arana Sr. made a pass of 6.880 seconds at 195.99 mph, falling to Hines' 6.894 at 193.02 mph run.
"We still ran great, .88 an .89, so we were there," Arana Sr. said. "It didn't turn out to be the way we wanted it to."