Lucas Oil pro Hector Arana Sr. set to join 200 round-wins club
The next time Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Sr. wins a round — and he hopes it happens at this weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway — he’ll have 200 in his long career.
Arana earned career round-win No. 199 in Denver and will be hunting for No. 200 and beyond during Sunday’s eliminations.
“Wow!” Arana said with a laugh when asked what it means to be so close to the milestone. “It means I’ve been around for a long time.”
Arana started his career in 1990 and began racing full time in 1994. After some lean years at the turn of the century, he partnered with Lucas Oil and began to show marked improvement in his performance.
Arana scored his first victory in 2008 and then won the 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. Of his 199 round-wins, 140 have come since the start of the 2009 season, proving he has gotten better with age, and at 57 years old he is showing no signs of slowing down.
“It means that I’ve still got to work hard and get a lot more,” Arana said. “I’ve been here many years. When you hear those numbers, it throws you back. You realize how long you’ve been here, and it’s good to have that accomplishment.”
Arana has qualified for 129 races in a row, eighth-longest among active NHRA racers and 19th all time. He won in Atlanta to snap a five-year winless drought and nearly even his win-loss record; it stands at 199-200 heading into Sonoma.
“Hopefully, I can make it all the way in Sonoma,” Arana said. “That way I’ll have more wins than losses.”
Arana and his team have some work to do after Denver because two engines were damaged during eliminations. The team had to make the 1,200-mile drive to Sonoma and hasn’t been able to work on the engines yet.
“We really haven’t had a chance to investigate,” Arana said. “We unloaded Wednesday and set up, and then we’ll look into the motor and find out what’s going on. I already had cylinder heads, pistons, and rings sent this way, just in case.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:15 and 6:45 p.m., Friday, and 1:10 and 4:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon Sunday. ESPN2 will carry both qualifying and elimination action.