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2014 NHRA: Great Qualifying Effort Has Arana Jr Ready For Eliminations In Gainesville
Posted by: newsla on Mar 16, 2014 - 07:10 AM
2014 NHRA: Great Qualifying Effort Has Arana Jr Ready For Eliminations In Gainesville

With qualifying completed, Lucas Oil Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Jr. is poised to start his 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with a victory Sunday during the NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville.


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Qualifying was all about adaptation for Arana, who knew his first couple of sessions wouldn't be his best but that he would be competitive by the end.

"We haven't run since Pomona last year, so Q1 was like, 'Here goes nothing,' " Arana said. "It was our last setup from Pomona. We ran it and it wasn't even close, but at least we had somewhere to go."

With the first qualifying session out of the way, Arana and the rest of the Lucas Oil team were able to focus on making the appropriate changes that better suited the racing surface of Auto-Plus Raceway.

"We had a baseline, and then we made our changes," Arana said. "We ran well, ran an .85, and we were like, 'Now we've got something we can work with.' We made some more adjustments, and we ran an .80.

"I believe if we'd have run that in the first session, we probably would have been in the .70s this weekend."

Arana was able to significantly better his time by Q3 to a 6.806 at 196.47mph, landing him first for that qualifying session. Still looking for more speed, the Lucas Oil team tried one more adjustment to get every last ounce out of the Buell.

"We made another change for Q4, but I had to fight the bike all the way down the track, and that scrubs off a lot of speed," Arana said. "That's what happened in that run."

Even with the slight handling issues in Q4, Arana remained third overall for Sunday's final eliminations, pairing him up against Jim Underdahl in the first round and feeling confident in his ability to move on.

"I feel good," Arana said. "I feel good on the back, feel comfortable the bike's running good. We finally got all three bikes running good, so we'll go through them during our routine maintenance and checks, look at what we want to adjust, and go from there. One round, one race at a time."

Final eliminations for the NHRA Gatornationals start at noon on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 1 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 7 p.m.

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