Lucas Oil Racing press release
Lucas Oil's 1-2 punch of Aranas ready to mount offensive on Charlotte field
CHARLOTTE (Sept. 17) – Lucas Oil Buell riders Hector Arana Sr. and Hector Arana Jr. were all smiles after the father/son duo both qualified in the top half of the Pro Stock Motorcycle field for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.
Arana Sr. shook off the engine gremlins that have plagued his bike for several races and qualified No. 4. That's his best qualifying effort since winning the pole in Denver four races ago.
"I've been so tired that I'm wondering, 'Wow, I need a day off,'" Arana Sr. said. "I made that good run – it's a good run; it wasn't perfect, but it was a good run – and now I'm ready to keep going and work around the clock. It's just what I needed.
"I feel like I'm 100 pounds lighter, 100 pounds less on my shoulders."
Arana Sr.'s pass of 6.890 seconds at 193.54 mph was third best in the final qualifying session. It was also the best run with the engine named "Forrest" after Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas.
"Forrest is happy," Arana Sr. said. "He's picking up the pace. We're just going to have to keep working with him and get those obstacles out of the way, and you'll see what he can do."
Arana Sr., the 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, faces No. 13 qualifier Michael Ray in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
"With this last run that we made," Arana Sr. said, "we should have good data that we can tweak the bike and make it more consistent."
Arana Jr., coming off his first career victory in the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, qualified No. 8 with a pass of 6.914 seconds at 191.51 mph. He used the engine named "Charlotte" on Saturday after a problem with his primary engine, "Gracie."
"Charlotte's like a second mother to me," Arana Jr. said. "I have no worries. We've just got to get the right tune-up to get the bike to leave the starting line, and it should run just as well."
Arana Jr., a 22-year-old rookie, has qualified in the top half of the field in six consecutive races. He faces No. 9 qualifier Angie Smith in the first round Sunday.
"The motor accelerates good and pulls good at the top end," Arana Jr. said. "We just had too much clutch, so it's bogging a little on the starting line. We'll work on that and get it right for tomorrow."
Arana Jr. remains confident in securing his second consecutive victory, noting that he raced Smith in the first round at Indy.
"My confidence level is pretty high," Arana Jr. said. "I'm approaching tomorrow thinking I have a good chance at winning again. I have Angie first round again, so maybe everything's lining up just right."