A game of cat and mouse landed Hector Arana Sr. his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season during the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.
Arana ran a 6.884-second elapsed time during Friday’s first session, just .003 ahead of Andrew Hines, who too made his best run in Q1.
“Today, I struggled a little bit,” said Arana. “My clutch tune-up is a little off. We made some different changes. We were chasing one end of the problem, and we had to go far enough back so we can find the proper thing to do tomorrow. Other than that, I am still pleased with the outcome.”
Ever since Friday’s opening salvo, Arana and son Hector Jr., have worked to improve the early portion of their runs. The end result was a measure of surprise they didn’t improve.
“We were really aggressive off of the starting line,” Arana said. “We wanted to lower the number to make sure I stayed No. 1. But yes, I am surprised the run held. We just need to make clean runs and we should do well tomorrow.
Arana said he was more surprised he didn’t beat his qualifying time but admitted he was also surprised the Harley-Davidson team, which seemed to dominate at will during the most recent bike event in Sonoma, didn’t step up.
“We look at the incremental numbers and they are definitely off,” admitted Arana. “I don’t know what they have done. But they seemed to have slowed down a little bit.”
Arana said he wasn’t surprised the NHRA didn’t adjust the rules for the Harley-Davidson combination. On paper, he believes, there isn’t much of an argument for the NHRA to intervene.
“The bottom line is the ET,” said Arana. “We are there with them. Makes it hard to say no parity. We are keeping up with them for now. I don’t know what they have. I know what I’ve got. We run all out and don’t hold back. Right now, I know they are running what we are but they don’t have to work on the car like we do. That’s alright. It just makes it part of the game.”
Come Sunday and in the Countdown, Arana believes, will determine who is playing a game.
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