Lucas Oil stable of drag racers ready for big day in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- The Lucas Oil Pro Stock Motorcycle team was all smiles Saturday at Atlanta Dragway after riders Hector Arana Jr. and Hector Arana Sr. both qualified in the top half of the ladder for Sunday’s eliminations.
The father/son duo posted identical elapsed times of 6.948 seconds, but Junior's 192.41 mph top speed on his powerful Buell gave him the fifth qualifying spot, pushing dad down a notch to sixth.
"I'm just making smoother passes," Arana Jr. said within easy earshot of his father. "The bike wasn't there in Gainesville, but in Houston and here, the bike has been there. Now it's up to me. I'm making good runs and it's showing."
I would love another chance to race him.
Lucas Oil’s other NHRA Full Throttle Series racers, Shawn Langdon and Larry Morgan, also qualified for Sunday’s eliminations with solid passes.
Arana Jr. will open Sunday's eliminations against Steve Johnson, who had a best lap of 6.983 seconds at 192.22 mph.
After meeting each other in the first round in Houston -- a race won by Arana Jr. -- the Aranas are on opposite sides of the bracket this weekend.
"I would love another chance to race him," Arana Jr. said. "My goal is to see him in the finals. That would be awesome."
Arana Sr. also is carrying plenty of confidence into race day as he feels there is a lot of speed in his Lucas Oil Buell.
"I know it's there," he said. "I made a couple little mistakes here and there, but I know what I have with this bike. It can run better. Today we got aggressive with the clutch to see how far we could go. We learned something for tomorrow to stay consistent, and that's what we'll need to win.
"My kid, he did a hell of a job. He even out-qualified me. That means I better start focusing all of my attention on my program."
The elder Arana starts against No. 11 qualifier Chip Ellis in the first round. Ellis’ qualifying time was 6.975 seconds at 191.40 mph.
After a rare DNQ in Houston, Langdon and the Lucas Oil/Speedco dragster bounced back to qualify 15th in the Top Fuel field.
"We’re just trying to make runs down the track," Langdon said. "The last few races have been a struggle. Just getting solid runs down the track will mean a lot for everyone on the team."
Langdon’s best pass was a 3.996 at 291.89 mph. He draws points leader, Del Worsham, who is No. 2 on the ladder with a 3.8289 at 320.05 mph. Worsham has won three of the last four races.
Pro Stock veteran Morgan grabbed the 13th spot in the Lucas Oil Ford Mustang by posting his quickest pass of the weekend in the final qualifying session. He’ll face Rodger Brogdon in the first round of eliminations.
"We came here with a different mindset," Morgan said. "We tried some tires we had never run, and a (new) clutch. We had a bit of a hard time calming down the car, but we did get it calmed down eventually and it finally came together in that last run.
"We had a bit of a thrash going on, but we made it okay. We're pretty excited and we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Morgan posted a 6.659 at 206.80 in the final round and was happy to be slotted 13th. Brogdon’s best pass was a 6.618 at 207.72 mph.
"Hopefully tomorrow, everything will go well for us," Morgan said. "I think we've got plenty of power to get in there. Hey, lucky 13, I'm good with that. To get this Lucas Oil Ford Mustang going well, it's good for everybody."
-source: lucas oil racing