Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Sr. was nearly beside himself following the NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway.
Even though he lost in the semifinals, Arana Sr. had plenty of reasons to smile: His youngest son, Adam, qualified for his first national event and his oldest son, Hector Arana Jr., won the race. It was the team’s first victory since 2011.
“Overall, it was a great weekend,” Arana Sr. said in victory lane. “Adam qualified, which was one of my main goals. He did an excellent job. I got to the semifinals and nothing went wrong. To top it off, Hector (Arana Jr.) won the race. I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s been great.”
Arana Sr.’s entire family, including wife Grace and daughter Abigail, posed for photos in victory lane with Arana Jr. As the father and team owner, Arana Sr. was humbled by the experience.
“I want to thank Lucas Oil and Forrest and Charlotte (Lucas) for the opportunity they have given us to stay together as a family,” Arana Sr. said. “To add the third member this year, who would have ever thought in their wildest dreams that this could happen to me. I’m lost for words. I just don’t know what else to say.”
Arana Sr. qualified No. 3 and beat Jim Underdahl in a very close first-round race. Arana Sr. recorded a .016-second reaction time and needed every bit of it to stop Underdahl’s .020 light and 6.926 at 191.35 mph with a 6.860 at 194.74 mph.
He then raced No. 6 qualifier John Hall in the second round and scored the win when Hall left too soon. Arana Sr. made a solid pass, going 6.848 seconds at 195.03 mph to get lane choice for the semifinals against his son.
Arana Jr. won their semifinal match on a holeshot, using a .022-second reaction time and a 6.849 at 194.97 mph to beat his dad’s 6.844 at 196.10 mph. The difference was Arana Sr.’s light (.034).
“It just means that I need to let them do some more work so I can focus on my point,” said Arana Sr. “I’ll play with the Tree and get better.”