For the first time this season, Hector Arana Jr. ended a Friday atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying chart.
Arana and the Lucas Oil Buell are the provisional kings of the mountain at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere raceway.
"It was really a big confidence booster," said Arana, who has qualified third in the last four races. "I'm really amped up right now. My lights have been great so far this weekend. I'm looking forward to having a great time and having fun."
Arana had a best pass of 7.238 seconds at 184.57 mph and had the best ET in both qualifying sessions.
"That was an excellent run," Arana said. "When it left it felt so smooth and it went straight. We haven't run that motor in a year. To run that fast from the first hit with a motor we haven't run in so long it exciting.
"It was the first motor I've ever run on a Buell down the quarter-mile. Now it's running good and we're having fun."
However, Arana said those solid passes didn't feel like they were destined for the top of the ladder.
"At other places, when you drop the clutch everything is much more violent," Arana said. "Here it's smoother with higher RPMs. It's just got a completely different feeling. I didn't think it was good at first, but it was better than my dad's and he's been on fire lately."
Arana's closest pursuer was his father, Hector Arana Sr., who guided his Lucas Oil Buell to a best pass of 7.243 seconds at 183.62 mph. Arana Sr., has qualified first or second in five of six races this season.
"We're doing great in the points and everything," Arana Jr. said. "I don't know if he and I are starting a rivalry, but it's nice to have that, 'Finally I got you,' feeling."
Qualifying at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals continues on Saturday with a pair of sessions that start at 12:45 p.m. MDT.
Photo by Matt Polito