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Jul 27, 2014 - 02:23 PM
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2014 NHRA: Lucas Oil's Arana Jr Ready To Defend Sonoma Nationals Victory
Posted by: newsla on Jul 27, 2014 - 02:19 PM
2014 NHRA: Lucas Oil's Arana Jr Ready To Defend Sonoma Nationals Victory

Defending NHRA Sonoma Nationals champion Hector Arana Jr. is confident about a change in fortunes for eliminations Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.


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Last year's race winner has not had the speed he expected in 2014, but he knows race day is an opportunity to turn things around.

"We're a little bit out of sorts right now," Arana said. "I don't know how that even happened because according to the notes we're not that far off. We'll have to study the graphs from the computer closely and come up with the best game plan for tomorrow."

Arana made a best pass of 6.871 seconds at 197.91 mph to claim the No. 9 qualifying spot. That run came Saturday after Arana and crew chief Dan Gonzalez made changes from the first two sessions. Arana picked up more than a tenth of a second for Q3, and his speed was tops among the Pro Stock Motorcycle class here.

"We've made a little bit of a progress, but we're not where we want to be," Arana said. "The bike is hit or miss. It's running good down the track, which means we have some good power, but we've got to get it better leaving the line. If we can get that figured out, we'll be OK."

Q3 also served as the first round of the MiraMonte Pro Bike Battle, where Arana lined up against his father Hector Sr. Father got the best of son this time, making a run of 6.862 seconds at 196.73 mph to edge Arana by about 8 feet.

The two will meet again in Sunday's eliminations; Hector Sr. grabbed the No. 8 qualifying spot with that Q3 pass.

"Of course we didn't want that to happen, but we'll both go for the victory," Arana said. "That does mean one of us is in the second round, so that's good for the team.

"I have all the confidence in the world in my crew chief and my team. My crew chief Dan is the best mechanic out here, so I know he'll help get this bike figured out so we can go some rounds tomorrow. It would be awesome to defend our race win tomorrow."

Final eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all elimination action.

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