Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Sr. will begin his 25th season of Pro Stock Motorcycle racing this weekend at the NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, but instead of celebrating, the 55-year-old veteran is looking for simple gifts during the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
“We worked hard to get ready,” Arana said. “We regrouped and learned some things from last year. Hopefully, we can stay consistent this year.”
Arana, the 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, finished fifth in the points standings in 2013 with four No. 1 qualifiers and two final-round appearances and extended his streak to five years in a row of finishing in the top five.
Beyond hoping to continue that streak, Arana wants to return to victory lane in 2014, as well as see his sons Hector Jr. and Adam pile up some victories this season.
To do that, Arana will take a simple approach to racing beginning with Gainesville, but he hopes that will lead to success in the Countdown to the Championship, which will decide the 2014 title winner.
“We’re going to try to stay calm and think about going one race at a time,” Arana said. “Our expectation is to qualify well and go from there. For me, I want to win some races. I would also like to see my kids win some races, too, this year. We need to set ourselves up for the Countdown at the end of the season.”
The off-season was spent upgrading the three-bike Arana Racing team, searching for speed anywhere they could find it.
“We worked hard trying to find little things to make the bike go faster,” Arana said. “That’s what we focused on, the little things, so we can make fewer mistakes. Hopefully, it will lead us to accomplish more at the races.”
Qualifying sessions for the NHRA Gatornationals will be held at noon and 2:15 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Eliminations kick off at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 1 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 7 p.m.