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2014 NHRA: Gainesville proves to be a good track for Lucas Oil rider Arana Jr.
Posted by: newsla on Mar 17, 2014 - 06:16 AM
2014 NHRA: Gainesville proves to be a good track for Lucas Oil rider Arana Jr.

Lucas Oil Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Jr. started off his 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with an impressive finish at the NHRA Gatornationals this weekend at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville.


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The Lucas Oil rider carried the banner for the Arana family by charging his way to the semifinal round, taking down Jim Underdahl and Eddie Krawiec along the way. Momentum didn't carry Arana far enough, though, when he fell by a bike-length to eventual winner Steve Johnson in the semi's, 6.874 at 195.48 mph to 6.906 at 195.70 mph.

"We're really happy with what our team accomplished this weekend," Arana said. "We had a little bit of work to do on the bike between the second and third round of eliminations. Thankfully, we were able to get everything done in time for my run. I pulled up on the line and ran a little bit better than before but not as good as I needed to make it to the final."

But Arana's Buell has come a long way considering the little amount of time the team had to prepare it for the conditions they faced in Gainesville this weekend.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to do any testing in the off-season," Arana said, "so I hadn't been on my bike since the last race in Pomona and was stuck with that setup. We had to use the first two qualifying sessions to get our tune-up straight."

Because of the lack of off-season practice, Arana was looking for what felt like a come-from-behind win.

"Overall, considering everything we've gone through this weekend and through all the troubles we had with motors, we definitely made improvements," Arana said. "Throughout the weekend we were trying to do R&D to make improvements, and it seemed like all we did was go backwards. But we were able to finally get everything together and figure out the issue within qualifying. From then on I was consistently a little better every round Sunday."

Arana will look to defend his victory last season when the Pro Stock Motorcycles return to the circuit April 11-13 for four-wide racing in Charlotte, N.C.

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