Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana was counting his blessings Saturday at Bandimere Speedway after his bike failed to start for the final qualifying session for the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
Despite the problem, Arana extended his streak to six races in a row where he's qualified first or second, as he ended up No. 2 behind son Hector Arana Jr. with a pass of 7.243 seconds at 182.62 mph.
"Definitely, it's better this happened today rather than tomorrow," Arana said. "I've been plagued that way before where the bad stuff happens on race day. I guess in a way I'm lucky because this happened in qualifying, and we were already well in the show. It's OK.
"The down part is I was still trying to tune the clutch, and see if I could grab that No. 1 spot that my son took."
He couldn't, and now will face Matt Guidera in the first round of eliminations. Guidera qualified No. 15 with a pass of 7.429 seconds at 176.65 mph. Arana made three stellar runs in qualifying, earning six bonus points, before his problems in the water box before Q4.
"This problem started in Chicago during eliminations," Arana said. "We've been changing parts, and every time we change parts, it runs good for a run or two, and you think you've fixed it. Then, it acts up. It definitely acted up in Norwalk, and we changed some more parts
"I thought we had it. Three runs in Denver, and they were excellent, no mishaps. Now, the fourth run, it wouldn't even start this time. But it's easy to fix."
Arana remains confident, however, considering the recent performance of his bike. He's reached the semifinals in four consecutive races, and raced to the finals in Englishtown. Plus, a smile comes over his face at the prospect of facing his son in the finals, as they're on the opposite side of the ladder.
"I'm definitely waiting for that, the day we could both be in the finals," Arana said. "I think about, and I don't know which way to go because it doesn't matter. The way I look at it, the team won, and Lucas Oil won."