Top qualifier Arana Jr. races to semifinal finish in St. Louis
MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 30) - Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. is making semifinal appearances commonplace during the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Arana Jr. reached the semis of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park on Sunday, the 11th time in 13 Pro Stock Motorcycle races he's accomplished the feat.
"I'm definitely proud of that," Arana Jr. said. "We're doing well, both my dad and I. These Lucas Oil Buells are running great."
The sophomore rider beat John Hall in the first round and Scott Pollacheck in the second before falling to Andrew Hines in the semifinals.
He came into the race as the No. 1 qualifier but said the conditions weren't quite the same Sunday as earlier in the weekend.
"We slowed down today; the weather just wasn't there," Arana Jr. said. "As you could see, I guess the weather doesn't affect the Harleys. Or maybe they like to run in worse conditions, I don't know."
The Lucas Oil Buell started eliminations on a solid note, winning when Hall went red by -.003 seconds. For the record, Arana Jr. ran a 6.881-second lap at 193.38 mph as he advanced.
Against Pollacheck, Arana Jr. was off the line second, but had plenty of power to get the win. He ran a 6.882-second pass at 195.34 mph. Pollacheck crossed the line in 6.946 seconds at 189.31 mph.
In the semis, Arana Jr. thought he did all the right things to get the win, but in the end didn't have enough horsepower.
"I gave it my all," Arana Jr. said. "I had a great light, a .005 against Andrew. Was it going to be enough to give the edge to beat him? The bike was spinning a little bit, and when I went to plug second, it wouldn't shift.
"I tried again at the same time the rev limiter was coming in. When it actually went in, it pulled my hand off the handle bar. I was able to gather myself back up, but by that time, he had already gone around me."
Hines finished in 6.874 seconds at 193.27 mph to Arana Jr.'s 7.013 at 192.93 mph.
"I was confident," Arana Jr. said. "All weekend, we were low every time. The bike was a rail - it was consistent. I don't know what happened after that.
"Hopefully, our luck will change in Reading."
Up next for Arana Jr. and the Lucas Oil Buell is the USJ Auto Plus NHRA Nationals running Friday-Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.