Past world champion Hector Arana and his rookie-of-the-year son Hector Arana Jr. earned the second and third positions, respectively, on the Pro Stock Motorcycle elimination ladder of this weekend's sixth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Arana has now qualified fourth or better on his Lucas Oil Buell in the six NHRA races the bikes have contested this year, a mark that includes three No. 1 qualifying efforts. He actually was No. 1 at this race until just near the end of the final qualifying session when he was nipped by Andrew Hines by .001 seconds, or about two inches. Arana's best time was a 6.962 at 188.02 mph
"I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow," Arana Sr. said. "My major concern so far has been to make sure the bike ran well, especially at the top end, on every run. The last two runs we made, we were able to stay on it all the way through. The bike did not hiccup, and it ran good, so I think we have everything dialed in. Now, I've got to get after my clutch and get back on it so we can run those good numbers and get a win."
Like his father, Arana Jr. also has been impressive in qualifying this year with a pair of No. 2 and four straight No. 3 qualifying results. His quickest pass here was a 6.984 at 192.69 mph.
"Our goal is to be consistent," Arana Jr. said. "Our 60-foots haven't been super killer, but we've been consistent, and the bike's run consistent. If we can do that on Sunday, I think we can go plenty of rounds and maybe even get a win."
Despite their great runs, the talk in the Lucas Oil pit was of the oppressive heat that has plagued the race since it's start.
"There's no escape from it," Arana Jr. said. "We get out of the sun, but the sun's baking the trailer, so the trailer's hot and humid. When we put those leathers on, we can barely get them on. You feel claustrophobic because you can't sit in the bike all the way down because you can't get the leathers all the way on because you're sticking to them.
"You try to put on your jacket, and you can barely get in on. Gloves, you can barely get on. It's really miserable. Then you get on the bike, and you're not 100 comfortable because you're sticking. It makes you totally uncomfortable, but I'm trying to get used to it."
At the conclusion of Saturday's action, it is unclear if Arana will have a bye in the first round of eliminations, which begin around noon EDT. His scheduled opponent is Angie Smith (7.102 at 188.83 mph), but she went off the end of the track and crashed in a cornfield in the final session. She was uninjured but unsure if she can continue. Arana Jr. will race Shawn Gann, who went 7.093 at 188.83 mph.