Hector Arana had a productive Friday at Summit Motorsports Park, finishing as the only rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle to go in the 6.90s during both qualifying runs.
But it’s also shaping up to be a long night after a discouraging sign on his second pass.
The good news is that Arana is the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the Summit Racing NHRA Nationals after going 6.962 at 188.02 mph.
But on his second pass that yielded a 6.981 he clocked just 176.10 mph, indicating more electrical problems that plagued him last weekend in Chicago and setting up the possibility of a long night trying to locate the problem.
“This bike, she was running great in Chicago. We had the perfect tune-up and we didn’t even have to touch it,” Arana said. “But on Sunday we developed an electrical problem and it did that against Karen (Stoffer) where it gave me a hiccup, it stopped and then it kicked back on.
“We’ve replaced cam sensors, spark plug wires, injector, you name it pretty much. We made the first hit here and we thought we found the problem, but this last run it did it again.
“I was disappointed because it felt like it left good and it felt like I was going straight and on a perfect run, and then it did that. It’s a little disappointing because we need to fix it, we need to find it. I don’t want to go into eliminations with this problem.”
Through all that, Arana displayed two impressive runs in what were extremely hot and difficult conditions.
Arana’s son, Hector Jr., was the only other rider to break into the 6-second zone in the incredible heat, going 6.984 at a Friday-best 192.69 mph. LE Tonglet made the biggest move during the second qualifying session, jumping up to fourth with a 7.019 at 190.32 mph, putting him right behind Eddie Krawiec’s 7.01.
Tonglet went 7.08 during his first run, but made strong improvements as conditions slightly cooled in the evening session.
“We’re trying to get this Suzuki figured out. We seem to be improving and hopefully we can keep getting the 60-foot quicker and keep going faster,” Tonglet said.
If it stands, Arana will earn his third No. 1 qualifier of 2012 and the PSM riders might not see better conditions than what they had for the second qualifying session.
Of course, those weren’t exactly ideal, but Saturday’s two sessions are due to come in the middle of the day when record heat is expected in Norwalk.
“It doesn’t look as though it was that tough on the bike. It was tough on me,” Arana said. “It’s going to be the same for everyone, so there’s nothing we can do there.
“They’re doing a hell of a job out there prepping this track. They’re doing something right in order for us to hook up and make those types of runs.”
Heading into Saturday and then eliminations, Arana isn’t worried about track conditions or even what the two Harley-Davidson bikes ridden by Krawiec and Andrew Hines are doing.
Arana’s chief concern is getting his own bike right – even if it takes working all night.
“We need to stop worrying about (Hines and Krawiec) and we need to start doing better on Sunday,” Arana said. “If we could just eliminate those little hiccups, we should be there. Then again, I would prefer this to happen in the beginning rather than the Countdown like it did last year.”
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