Defending world champion Hector Arana was so confounded by the gremlins effecting his Lucas Oil Buell V-Twin that he was asked if he thought his bike might be possessed. He didn’t hesitate in his reply — “Yes.”
“There’s something going on with this thing,” said Arana, who led the championship points for a class-leading nine races this season but is currently fifth, 176 points off the pace set by Andrew Hines. “I’ve tore it down, literally, to the bare chassis. I mean, we took everything off. Then we thought we had found something, but we go out and make a run and it’s still there. I just don’t know what it is.”
Arana does the lion’s share of work on his red, white, and blue bike and has for his two-plus decades of competition. He knows Pro Stock Motorcycles can be finicky beasts when they want to be, but he also knows enough to have narrowed his search for a solution to his problem to a specific area.
“We can definitely rule out that it’s a mechanical issue,” Arana said. “It’s something electrical. What’s strange is that it only does it when every once in awhile. It’s not something that happens every pass. This thing has a mind of it’s own. It’s the most frustrating thing.”
Arana is hoping to get some test passes in before the start of this weekend’s 25th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas. He knows time is not on his side if he hopes to defend his coveted world title.
“The Countdown is the worst time to have a problem like this,” he said. “Drag racing can be cruel, man. If we can find out what’s slowing this bike down and fix it we will be right back in the fight. I have a lot of confidence in what we can do. There’s still time.”
Prior to the race, Arana will donate some of his time to the Meals on Wheels program and complete a route Thursday morning delivering food to elderly recipients. He then plans to mix and mingle with his many fans from 6-8 p.m. at Splitsville Bowling Alley in Arlington.
“Texas is always great because of the large number of Latino fans there,” said Arana, a native of Puerto Rico. “I love their support and I want to do well for them. I can’t wait to get there and start racing.”