NHRA Pro Stock MotorcycleLucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Jr. is ready for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class to resume racing, and for good reason: He has the fastest motorcycle in NHRA history.Arana Jr. set the national speed record of 198.88 mph on March 29 at the last race that included the two-wheel category in Charlotte, and he’ll finally roll his Lucas Oil Buell back to the starting line this weekend at the 35th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
A nine-time winner on the NHRA tour, Arana Jr. has two of the top three fastest runs in class history. He was hoping to be the first to 200 mph — the sport’s next big barrier — when he switched to new body work at the start of the year, but the development of the new design isn’t complete. Until then, of course, he knows he still has a very fast bike.“We’re taking old faithful to Atlanta, the body I’ve been running, and racing it until the new one is totally figured out,” Arana Jr. said. “We’re just not ready to bring out the new body work yet. We’ve got some more work to do, not so much for performance but for safety. When that body takes me down the track straight, that’s when we’ll bring it out.”Arana Jr. sits fifth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings after only two races, highlighted by a final round showing in Charlotte. That race was more than a month ago, and Arana Jr. is itching to get back on track.“Our bikes are running well right now,” said Arana Jr., who shares a pit with his father Hector Sr., who also races. “I’m ready to get things rolling. I’m tired of these big gaps in the schedule. I’m ready to do a bunch of races in a row and get back in the swing of things.“It’s tricky. These motors, you can only get so many runs out of them. It’s hard to find parts that last a long time, so when you get a motor that’s good, like one that sets the national record, you don’t want to abuse it in testing, you want to use it just for racing.”And Arana Jr. wants to stay sharp on the bike, too.“When you’re in competition, that’s when you get used to racing and you get used to the tension,” Arana Jr. said. “When it’s testing, you can go cut perfect lights all day because you don’t have the pressure. I’m ready to feel that pressure and start winning some races.”Qualifying rounds will take place at 3:45 and 6:15 p.m., Friday, and 12:45 and 2:45 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all the action.