Now, the 22-year-old from Corydon, Ind., is ready to take the next step on drag racing’s biggest stage, the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“It’s a home race, and it’s the biggest race of the year, the most prestigious race,” Arana Jr. said. “To get my first win there would be awesome.”
Arana Jr. has progressed nicely in his first season riding a Pro Stock Motorcycles, qualifying No. 1 three times and second once in the last five races. His performance in Brainerd moved him up to eighth in the PSM points standings, and a solid showing in Indy will lock down a spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
“I’m a believer in momentum,” Arana Jr. said. “I definitely got over my second-round hump, and I felt like I rode well in Brainerd all weekend. We made some great passes. Plus, we got the points we needed. We did well. That should continue.”
Arana Jr.’s recent surge has put him in contention for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which is given annually to the top rookie across NHRA’s four Professional categories. Many have already anointed Pro Stock driver Vincent Nobile as the top rookie, given his two victories this season, but Arana Jr. is poised to make a late-season surge that could swing the vote.
“Don’t forget about me,” Arana Jr. said. “We’ve still got the Countdown. We’re coming on strong.”