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Jun 29, 2014 - 12:56 PM
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2014 NHRA: No 2 Qualifier Arana Jr Ready To Make More Memories In Chicago
Posted by: newsla on Jun 29, 2014 - 12:50 PM
2014 NHRA: No 2 Qualifier Arana Jr Ready To Make More Memories In Chicago

Route 66 Raceway holds a lot of good memories for Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr., and he hopes to add to those during final eliminations on Sunday at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.


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Arana, who met his girlfriend Nicole Nobile here four years ago, qualified No. 2 on Saturday with a pass of 6.941 seconds at 190.32 mph. That's his third consecutive No. 2 qualifying spot and his fourth of the season in six races.

Plus, his four qualifying runs were within .059-second, giving Arana a consistent Buell heading into race day.

"We've finally found a pretty good combination," Arana said. "It seems to repeat and be consistent. We were right there fighting for the No. 1 spot. We're giving it our all. We're running the best for what we have."

In addition to meeting his girlfriend here, Arana has made memories on the track. He was the No. 1 qualifier in his rookie season of 2011 and raced to the semifinals in each of the past two seasons.

He will square off against No. 15 qualifier Steve Johnson in the first round of eliminations Sunday. Johnson's best pass was 7.055 seconds at 189.34 mph.

"I feel great," Arana said. "I've been cutting good lights all weekend, and I believe in this Lucas Oil Buell. I've got to do my job as a rider, get good lights, and be consistent. It's definitely possible we could get a win, but one round at a time."

Arana has won seven times in his young career but is looking for his first victory of 2014. His qualifying prowess has extended into eliminations, as he has reached the semifinals in four of the five races this season.

Could Chicago be the track where he breaks through for the first time this season?

"This is definitely a great track to me," Arana said. "This is where I got to meet my girlfriend Nicole. She's not able to be here this weekend, but I'd love to bring home the Wally for her."

Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. Central on Sunday, with ESPN2 providing three hours of live coverage starting at 2 p.m.

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