The last thing Lucas Oil Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Sr. expected was a red-light, but that’s what the 2009 champion saw as he left in the semifinal round of the seventh annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods on Sunday at zMax Dragway, ending his second race of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
“I don’t know what happened; I really don’t,” Arana said. “I know I saw the light and I reacted, but to my surprise it was a red-light.”
Arana left .015-second too soon, joining past Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey on the sidelines after they both red-it in the semifinals.
Arana had ridden well at the season opener in Gainesville, Fla., leaving first on his final three opponents. His .073-second light in the first round here was second-best, and he won that quad with a pass of 6.836 seconds at 196.56 mph, but he and Sampey were out early in the semifinals.
“It surprised me, too,” Arana said. “Sometimes I don’t know what it is. Things seem to be going my way this year. I hope I keep doing well through the whole year and finish where I want to finish at the end of the year.”
Arana has had a fast start to the season, reaching the final in Gainesville and standing third in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points race. In Charlotte, he qualified sixth and had a fast, consistent bike all weekend.
“That’s one less bike I have to worry about,” Arana said. “It ran good and had good mile an hour. So far everything looks good, so it’s just minor work when we get back to the shop. I can take my time and find out what’s going on with Hector (Arana Jr.’s) motor so he can be up to speed.”
Hector Jr. failed to qualify for the Charlotte race.