Lucas Oil gang has designs on dominating Gators
"Qualifying No. 1 makes you feel a little more relaxed and you don't have to kill the tree," Arana said. "But on raceday you don't know what could happen. We are going to make sure this bike is ready for Sunday and that nothing goes wrong."
Two of Lucas Oil's other pro drivers, Shawn Langdon in Top Fuel and Larry Morgan in Pro Stock, put their cars into Sunday's eliminations as well.
Arana set a national record on Friday afternoon with a best pass of 6.777 seconds at 195.36 mph. He said that shifting conditions and tough competition will make his job Sunday no easy task.
"The track has really changed since Friday," Arana said. "We've been blowing the tires off today but now I know some things going into tomorrow.
"No. 1 means you did the best and you were the best for the moment of qualifying. I'm sure the other racers may have just missed that little window of opportunity because of the conditions and they could have probably jumped to the No. 1 spot also."
Arana led the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle field in NHRA history and squares off against Joe Desantis, who ran a 7.104 at 190.97 mph in the first round.
Langdon, who finished runner up last time out in Pomona, put the Lucas Oil/Speedco dragster into the sixth spot in the ladder with a best qualifying effort of 3.861 seconds at 316.60 mph.
"We were really just trying to qualify a little higher but were reaching a little too far with our tune-up," Langdon said. "We have an idea where our window is so we'll go back to that for our first round tomorrow against Clay (Millican) and just try to make a good solid run."
Millican qualified 11th with a best pass of 3.877 at 316.15 mph.
Morgan, who is participating in his 500th career NHRA event, will line up 14th on the Pro Stock ladder in the Lucas Oil/Speedco Ford Mustang after a career best 6.544 second pass at 210.80 mph.
"I'm lucky to get the Lucas Oil Ford in," he said. "We're just excited to be here and be able to race. It's my 500th race and it feels good.
"I was lucky to be able to start racing when I was younger and I still have a ways to go, I'm not stopping anytime soon."
Morgan draws Greg Anderson in the first round. Anderson ran a 6.495 at 212.86 mph to qualify No. 3.
Pro Stock Motorcycle rookie Hector Arana Jr. did not qualify for eliminations after chasing fuel system issues all weekend.
Eliminations for the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals begin at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday. ESPN2 picks up its coverage of the event at 6 p.m. EDT.
-source: lucas oil racing