Lucas Oil Racing press release
Championship contender Arana Jr. as cool as the other side of the pillow
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 24) – The more the pressure mounts in the battle for the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship, the more relaxed Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. seems to be.
Arana Jr. is second in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings entering this weekend's Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He's only 10 points out of the lead with two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship.
But does Arana Jr. feel any more pressure?
"No, not really," Arana Jr. said. "I'm only saying this because we've been able to do it, but it does seems easier. I know how difficult this is, but now that I'm going rounds and going to finals, it's like, 'What's so hard? Why not us?'"
Arana Jr., a 22-year-old rookie, failed to qualify for the first race of the season and won only four rounds in the first eight national events. But since then, Arana Jr. has won three races and been to two other finals. Pressure? What pressure?
"I'm a rookie, a true rookie," Arana Jr. said. "I think that was partially what was happening at the beginning of the year. I wasn't used to all the pressure."
Now, Arana Jr. seems to thrive under the pressure. In the Countdown, he's qualified No. 1 three times, won two races and reached the finals in another. He leads the PSM class with six No. 1 qualifiers – including the last three – and has won from the No. 1 slot twice.
"I always dreamed about getting on a hot streak like this," Arana Jr. said. "Of course, you dream it'll happen in your rookie year, too. That doesn’t necessarily mean I expected it to happen. Either way, I'm loving it and I'm going to ride it as long as I can."
Like every track on the NHRA schedule this year, Arana Jr. will be racing at Vegas for the first time. But despite his relative lack of experience and the pressure of a championship battle, Arana Jr. will focus on what got him to this position.
Like at every race, Arana Jr. practices his starting-line procedures between rounds, focusing on lights held by his crew chief, Dan Gonzalez.
"Drag racing is all routine," Arana Jr. said. "It's all about trying to be consistent as possible. Any time I can sit on the bike and get practice, it's like making another lap. It just makes it that much easier in my subconscious. It becomes a natural habit.
"We're going to put some fresh Lucas Oil in our S&S-powered Buell and try to stay consistent. Hopefully we can make eight awesome passes this weekend."