READING, Pa. (Sept. 19) – The leaves may be changing and the temperatures may soon be dropping, but Lucas Oil Racing TV rider Hector Arana Jr. hopes to remain red-hot in the NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
The seasoned pilot looks to continue building on his winning momentum this weekend when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ Countdown to the Championship playoffs continue with the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. The event is the second of six in this year’s playoffs.
Arana, a 28-year-old resident of East Northport, N.Y., currently holds the No. 3 position in championship points. In the previous four events leading into this race, he’s posted semifinal finishes in Charlotte and Sonoma, Calif. and a runner-up finish at the biggest drag race in the world, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
“We seem to be hitting our stride at the right time,” Arana said. “Jim (Yates, crew chief) and my dad (teammate and team owner) have really been getting the best out of the Lucas Oil Racing TV machine. It’s been fun to be in contention to win every time we get to another track.
“I’m proud to be representing Lucas Oil and Lucas Oil Racing TV so well this year, and it’s been extra important to go rounds with Dad on the sidelines. I miss racing with him on the track but it’s been cool to have him working all this time on my bike. I think it’s made a big difference.”
Historically, the event in Reading is one of the quickest and fastest stops on the NHRA tour due to its location, atmospheric conditions, and oxygen-rich air. Crew chiefs and competitors alike keep their eyes toward the skies and tend to salivate and grin a bit more when they’re competing in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
“Reading can be a very, very fast track,” Arana said. “Hopefully it won’t be cold and rainy like it is known to be and we can go there and find a little extra something. We do well in good air so we are excited. We just have to keep up with the other championship contenders. We are on a roll and doing well. Reaching the latter rounds is vital.
“It’s been a little warmer up there (in Reading). Hopefully it’s cooler by the time we start racing. If it is there’s a chance to go 200 mph. We will see what others do. Everyone wants to be the first to go 200 and we are just going to do everything we can. We always watch the weather really close so we will just keep an eye on that and see what happens.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:45 and 4:15 p.m., Friday, and 12:45 and 3:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry the first day qualifying action live from 2:30-3:30 p.m., Friday. Live eliminations will air on FOX Sports 1 from 2-5 p.m., Sunday. (All times are local and subject to change.)