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Jul 23, 2014 - 04:32 PM
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2014 NHRA: Defending Sonoma Champ Arana Jr Hopes To Double Up In 2014
Posted by: newsla on Jul 23, 2014 - 04:27 PM
2014 NHRA: Defending Sonoma Champ Arana Jr Hopes To Double Up In 2014

"Defending champion."

Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. likes the sound of those words, which describe him heading into this weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.


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"I am really, really pumped for Sonoma," Arana said. " 'Defending champion.' That sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?"

Arana stormed to the victory in Sonoma last year, beating Matt Smith on a holeshot in the final round for his fourth win of the season. He was able to celebrate with Napa Valley wine in the winner's circle and then got to spray champagne on his crew and fans.

"I love the track and the scenery is awesome there," Arana said. "I like when you win because the celebration is unique and one of a kind, my favorite. I sure hope we get to do that again."

This weekend includes another chance to win, as the track hosts the MiraMonte Records NHRA Pro Bike Battle, which features the eight riders who accumulated the most qualifying points through the 2014 season, with Arana ranking second.

Qualifying sessions on Saturday will be used as the first and second rounds of the Battle, with the winner coming out of a special final round. The winner pockets $25,000.

"We have a chance to race and win that and maybe double up there," said Arana, who will face his dad Hector Sr. in the first round. "I appreciate MiraMonte Records putting up all the money for the bikes, and I know we'll put on a good show.

"But first things first, qualifying and going one round at a time. We'll go from there."

Arana's week includes participating in the NHRA press conference at McCormick & Kuleto's restaurant at Ghirardelli Square, as well as spending some time exploring San Francisco.

"I'm looking forward to hanging out in San Francisco," Arana said. "I haven't gotten to do that much since we're usually traveling to Sonoma, but my girlfriend and I plan to have some fun there. We are going to do the press conference and then go to a children's hospital for a visit, so I'm looking forward to it."

And he'd love to cap it all off with another Sonoma victory.

Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:15 and 6:15 p.m., Friday, and 12:55 and 3:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all qualifying and elimination action.

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