NORWALK, Ohio (June 25) — After finishing as runner-up at the last Pro Stock Motorcycle tour stop in Englishtown, N.J., Hector Arana Jr. was hoping to take his Lucas Oil Racing TV Buell one step further at this weekend’s 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Instead, he ended his day in the semifinals, a respectable result that lifted him to within 11 points of a top-three perch in the Mello Yello championship points.
“Not a bad race at all,” Arana said. “We’re going rounds, we’re running fast, the bike is very consistent and we’re right there where we want to be in relation to the field. We need to keep working hard and find that little bit extra and we’ll be up there challenging for the top spot.”
Arana’s big V-twin motor produced great numbers for him all weekend. After qualifying No. 3 with a 6.886 at 194.63 mph, Arana Jr. improved to a 6.867 at 194.69 mph during a pressure-relieving, first-round victory over Karen Stoffer, who posted a 6.924 at 193.16 mph.
He dipped even lower in a huge quarterfinal win over five-time world champion Andrew Hines, carding a quick 6.846 at 197.36 mph to catch, pass and beat Hines’ 6.925 at 193.02 mph.
Semifinal foe and No. 2 qualifier LE Tonglet had run slightly better than Arana Jr. all weekend and this race was no different, with Tonglet putting a 6.831 at 195.08 mph on the scoreboards ahead of Arana Jr.’s 6.863 at 195.22 mph.
“Congratulations to LE,” Arana Jr. said. “He went on to win the event so he obviously had a great bike here. If we can keep up the consistency with our Lucas Oil Buell and keep going rounds, we’ll be there in the end.
“We have a weekend off so we’ll get these motors back to the shop, freshen both of them up, even though they are running great, and we’ll go at it hard in Chicago. We’ll polish up the rider a little too and see if we can’t get back on track with better reaction times. Everything helps when the racing is this close.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will take a weekend off before starting the second half of the season July 7-9 with the 20th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago.