Indianapolis - Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Sr. had one of his best races in the biggest event of the season.
Arana Jr. rode well in all four rounds and reached the final of the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway on Sunday for the second time in four years. But Arana Sr. suffered an engine failure in the final against Andrew Hines as he pushed for his second victory in the Big Go.
"It hurt the motor," said Arana Sr., who won this race in 2009. "I looked in the throttle body, and I can see the valve and part of the piston shoved inside the head to the throttle body. Let's hope it didn't ruin the injectors. It's not good."
Arana Sr. was gunning for his first win since '09, and his performance was terrific. He had two .007-second reaction times Sunday and averaged a .025 light in reaching his second final round of 2012.
"I was calm, I was focused," Arana Sr. said. "I had excellent lights. I think I did my job."
Arana's day started with a .007 light and a pass of 6.904 seconds at 192.88 mph in a dominant victory over Jim Underdahl. Arana then had a .035 light against Shawn Gann before outrunning him with a pass of 6.951 seconds at 192.41 mph.
That set up a semifinal matchup against Eddie Krawiec, the winner of six races this season and who has ended two prior events for Arana this year - including in the finals at Englishtown. Krawiec is also the rider who joked that he was Achilles who killed two Hectors.
This time, though, Achilles was cut down. Krawiec left early, handing Arana the victory.
"That was a sweet one," Arana Sr. said. "That was great. I was waiting for that one. I told Eddie, 'See, the Achilles also has weak moments, too.' That was sweet."
But Arana Sr. also noticed the engine in his Buell may have been hurt, and he wanted to change it before the final.
"I asked NHRA if we could have a little bit extra time," Arana Sr. said. "My gut feeling was, 'Hey, we need to swap this engine.' But they said no, there's no time. All the hurrying, and then you sit out there (in the staging lanes) for another 25 minutes. We could've probably swapped the engine and not have this extensive damage that I have now."
Arana Sr. repeated his .007 reaction time in the finals, but the engine went up in smoke past half-track.
He ended up fourth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle regular-season points standings, as the Countdown to the Championship starts next weekend at Charlotte.
Source: Lucas Racing