Lucas Oil Racing press release
Rookie motorcyclist Arana Jr. a runner-up in Minnesota
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21) -- Hector Arana Jr. had the best outing of his brief professional career Sunday by racing to a runner-up finish at the 30th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
The 22-year-old rookie from Indiana beat Justin Finley, Steve Johnson, and three-time series champion Andrew Hines before getting nipped by reigning class champ LE Tonglet in the final round by .006 seconds, or about one foot.
"It was a great weekend," Arana Jr. said. "The ending could have been a little bit better but I made major improvements in my riding and everything else. I'd never even been to the semis before so to get through to the final and run as good as we did is perfect.
"That was a big race against LE but I wasn't nervous. I was ready to kick some butt. It just didn't happen this time. I thought I had a slow reaction time, but they told me I didn't. It just didn't run the first 60 feet that well. That was the difference."
Arana Jr. certainly had the horsepower. In the quarterfinals against Johnson he set low elapsed time of the meet by posting a 6.881 at 194.86 mph on his Lucas Oil Buell V-Twin. His earlier time against Finley was a 6.885 at 194.38 mph, while he used a 6.893 at 194.66 mph against Hines to overcome a .069-second starting line deficit. Hines ran a 7.006 at 190.48 mph.
While his first three races were statistical walkovers, the final was a different story with Tonglet posting a 6.954 at 191.27 mph to Arana Jr.'s 6.961 at 193.43 mph.
"I knew it would be a great race," Arana Jr. said. "I was ready for it. I think I even had a thousandths of a second holeshot on him (.033 to .034). We made a slight adjustment before the final but it didn't work. We thought it would but it didn't. We'll learn from our mistakes and we'll come back in Indy and win it."