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Jun 02, 2014 - 06:49 AM
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2014 NHRA: 'Rocket Ship' Lucas Oil Buell Propels Arana Jr To Semifinals
Posted by: newsla on Jun 02, 2014 - 06:49 AM
2014 NHRA: 'Rocket Ship' Lucas Oil Buell Propels Arana Jr To Semifinals

Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. didn't win the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals on Sunday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, but chances are good you won't find many competitors happier after their performance this weekend.


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Arana qualified No. 2 and raced to the semifinals, all while setting career-bests for elapsed time and speed.

"I can't complain," Arana said. "We did an awesome job and the bike was consistent. We know we've got a good bike now. We've just got to work on how to go faster. I know we can do it, I know there's a little bit there. We're going to work hard, and we're going to do it."

All three of Arana's passes Sunday were 6.807 or quicker, defeating Jim Underdahl and Chaz Kennedy before falling to eventual race winner Andrew Hines.

"This thing was a rocket ship," Arana said. "I'd pop the clutch and she left nice and smooth every time. It carried the wheel out and I didn't have to fight it or anything. It was screaming. It was really fun to ride."

Underdahl didn't make the call in the first round, but Arana still ripped down the track with a pass of 6.774 seconds at 197.74 mph. That gave him lane choice against Kennedy, and Arana made another good pass, 6.790 seconds at 198.47 mph, to outrun Kennedy's 7.089 at 190.35 mph.

Arana knew he had a tall order against No. 3 qualifier Hines in the semi's, as Hines had improved over his qualifying e.t.s in eliminations, but Arana still was confident.

"I was getting better reaction times than him, and I knew that we could run a little bit better," Arana said. "I knew we had a good, fighting chance, so I had confidence. I wasn't worried at all. I knew I'd been good on the lights, and I went up there and did my thing.

"We were identical off the line, and from there on out, it was whoever had the best bike."

Turned out it was Hines, but only by .020-second. Hines' lap was 6.807 seconds at 195.62 mph while Arana's was a closing 6.827-second pass at 198.23 mph.

"I was watching him the whole time," Arana said. "He pulled on me at the beginning, and then I ran him down in the middle a little bit. He pulled on me again, and at the very top end I pulled on him again.

"I tell you what, if there was a couple more feet, I would've got him."

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