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2014 NHRA: Arana Jr Aims To Take Next Step In Pro Stock Motorcycle At O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Posted by: newsla on Jun 27, 2014 - 06:59 AM
2014 NHRA: Arana Jr Aims To Take Next Step In Pro Stock Motorcycle At O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals

If nothing else, Hector Arana Jr. has been impressively consistent in what has been a solid start to this Pro Stock Motorcycle campaign. That consistency, however, is missing one big thing and that is a victory during the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.


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Arana Jr. has posted three semifinal appearances in the five PSM races thus far, including last weekend at New England Dragway. While that is good enough to have Arana Jr. third in points, the rider of the Lucas Oil Buell is hungry for more at this weekend’s 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries.

“We’re definitely headed in the right direction with the tune-up, so we will just go from there and build from that,” Arana Jr. said. “My bike has been running well and definitely improving from where it was at the beginning of the year. We’ve just got to work on how to go faster. I know we can do it and I know there’s a little bit more there.”

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

On the bright side, Arana Jr. continues to go rounds against heated competition and the sixth of 16 PSM events will feature another star-studded field. He is currently chasing points leader Andrew Hines, who has two victories this season, and Eddie Krawiec, while other marquee riders in the class this weekend are reigning world champion Matt Smith, Ray, John Hall, Scotty Pollacheck and Angie Smith, who picked up her first career victory last weekend in Epping, N.H.

Arana Jr. fell to Matt Smith in the semifinals there when his Buell broke, but he remains confident about the direction the bike is headed. He may not have duplicated the three-race winning streak that started his 2013 season, but Arana Jr. is confident the wins will come soon enough.

"Everything is running strong, really strong on my Lucas Oil Buell," said Arana Jr., who has seven career victories. "Dad (Hector Arana) and the rest of the crew are headed back to the shop to throw a couple of motors onto the dyno. Depending on what the numbers show, we'll work from there and hopefully have another successful weekend in Chicago."

The three-bike team of Arana Jr., Hector Arana and Adam Arana also appears to be rounding into form. All three bikes advanced past the first round in Epping, marking the first time all three did so at a race together in 2014.

The other major topic on Arana Jr.’s mind is breaking his semifinal streak at Route 66 Raceway. He lost to Matt Smith in the semifinals a year ago at Chicago, but things could be different in 2014. Arana Jr. believes his bike has turned the corner when it comes to performance and consistency, which could make for a strong combination this weekend.

"We're going to dig back in our notes for the Chicago race," Arana Jr. said. "All three of the bikes ran well there last year, so we will definitely want to try to recreate that scenario but hopefully with a better ending. We will have to figure out what kind of combination we want to put together for Chicago. This motor is really happy right now, and hopefully she will stay like that for a while."

Seven-time Top Fuel world champion and Chicago resident Schumacher won a year ago and has a class-best four victories in Chicago. Schumacher, who also won last weekend in Epping, will be challenged by 2006 Chicago winner and points leader Doug Kalitta, along with Antron Brown, 2009 event winner Spencer Massey, reigning Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon, Steve Torrence, reigning Auto Club of Southern California Road the Future Award winner Brittany Force, J.R. Todd and Richie Crampton.
Hagan, the 2011 Funny Car world champ, has two wins in Chicago, but is after his first victory in 2014. Other multiple class winners at the track include reigning and 16-time world champ John Force (three wins) and Del Worsham (three wins), while other top challengers include one-time Chicago winner Ron Capps, who won last week in New Hampshire, two-time season winner Alexis DeJoria, Englishtown winner Cruz Pedregon, Topeka winner Courtney Force, Jack Beckman, Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and current points leader Robert Hight, a four-time winner this season.

Reigning Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin has five victories at Route 66 Raceway and two wins in 2014, but he is chasing points leader and three-time season winner Erica Enders-Stevens, who became the first female to win a Pro Stock race with her Chicago win in 2012. Jason Line, Allen Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock world champ, Vincent Nobile, four-time world champ Greg Anderson, Epping winner Dave Connolly, Shane Gray and Chris McGaha will also pose big threats in the category.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The race also will showcase the thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as the fan-favorite JEGS All-Stars competition.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, June 27, with sessions at 4:30 and 7:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, June 28, at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 29.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Route 66 Raceway at (888) 629-RACE (7223) or visit www.route66raceway.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.


WHAT: 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, the 12th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill. The track is located 30 miles southwest of Chicago on Route 53 (historic Route 66), approximately three miles south of the I-80 in Joliet. Take I-80 to exit #132A (Route 53 south) to the track.

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, June 26-29

THURSDAY, June 26 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying

FRIDAY, June 27 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:30 and 7:15 p.m.

SATURDAY, June 28 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m.
JEGS ALL-STARS ELIMINATION ROUNDS at 1, 3:15, and 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, June 30 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 28, ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, June 29, ESPN2 will televise three hours of elimination coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET).

SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Friday, June 27, 11 - 11:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 01C
Saturday, June 28, 10:30 - 11 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 01C
Sunday, June 29, 7:30 - 8 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 01C
(3720 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.46147055 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.

2013 EVENT WINNERS: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin, Pro Stock; Michael Ray, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

MOST VICTORIES: Jeg Coughlin, 5, PS; Kenny Bernstein, 4, TF; Tony Schumacher, 4, TF; Tony Pedregon, 4, FC; Larry Dixon, 3, TF; Doug Kalitta, 3, TF; Whit Bazemore, 3, FC; John Force, 3, FC; Del Worsham, 3, FC; Kurt Johnson, 3, PS; Jason Line, 3, PS.

Top Fuel - 3.737 seconds by Morgan Lucas, June ’13; 328.22 mph by Doug Kalitta, June ’13.
Funny Car - 3.988 seconds by Ron Capps, June ’13; 320.28 mph by Capps, June ’13.
Pro Stock - 6.542 seconds by Mike Edwards, June ’13; 210.64 mph by Edwards, June ’13.
PS Motorcycle - 6.884 seconds by Hector Arana Sr., June ’12; 195.68 mph by Michael Phillips, June ’10.

Top Fuel - 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ‘12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.965 sec. by John Force, Feb. ’14, Pomona, Calif.; 324.12 mph by J. Force, Feb. ’14, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock - 6.471 sec. by Mike Edwards, April ‘13, Charlotte, N.C.; 214.69 mph by Erica Enders-Stevens, March. ’14, Gainesville, Fla.
PS Motorcycle - 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.

TICKETS: For tickets, call (888) 629-RACE (7223) or purchase online at www.route66raceway.com.


GLENDORA, Calif. -- Point standings (top 10) following the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel: 1. Doug Kalitta, 1,001; 2. Antron Brown, 844; 3. Shawn Langdon, 783; 4. Spencer Massey, 709; 5. Tony Schumacher, 670; 6. Steve Torrence, 651; 7. Khalid alBalooshi, 587; 8. Richie Crampton, 546; 9. Brittany Force, 540; 10. J.R. Todd, 485.

Funny Car: 1. Robert Hight, 970; 2. Alexis DeJoria, 716; 3. John Force, 713; 4. Ron Capps, 683; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 682; 6. Courtney Force, 658; 7. Del Worsham, 645; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 599; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 569; 10. Matt Hagan, 564.

Pro Stock: 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, 972; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 789; 3. Allen Johnson, 776; 4. Jason Line, 733; 5. Shane Gray, 713; 6. Dave Connolly, 709; 7. Vincent Nobile, 671; 8. V. Gaines, 520; 9. Chris McGaha, 492; 10. Jonathan Gray, 400.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Andrew Hines, 482; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 445; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 351; 4. John Hall, 338; 5. Matt Smith, 306; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 283; 7. Michael Ray, 270; 8. Angie Smith, 228; 9. Hector Arana, 224; 10. Steve Johnson, 218.

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