Arana Jr’s Phoenix win means he’s for real

NHRA Full Throttle Phoenix, October 14-16, 2011

story by Geiger Media, photo by Tim Hailey

H2 and Chip Ellis at Indy

Hector Arana Jr. faced Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Eddie Krawiec in the Arizona NHRA Nationals finals in what could be a pivotal moment in the 2011 championship. Krawiec came into the event with a 35-point lead and could have put some distance between he and Arana Jr. But Hector—apparently good under pressure—had a perfect reaction time and out-ran Krawiec with a pass of 6.884 seconds at 194.30 mph to win his third national event of the season and second in a row. “That was cutting it close in the final but I knew I was just so amped up,” Arana Jr. said about his .000 light. “I knew how big that single round was; definitely the biggest round of my rookie year. There’s probably going to be a few more of those before we’re done.”

Arana Jr. now trails former champ Krawiec by 10 points with two races remaining in the season. “That was huge,” Arana Jr. said. “You’re talking about a 40-point swing in the points right there. If he had won we would have been in trouble. Now we’re 10 points apart. It’s anybody’s game at this point.”

Arana Jr. has had an excellent rookie year, winning three races and qualifying No. 1 six times—including Phoenix. He’s also won three of the last five races and reached the finals in five of the last six. If he keeps it going and wins the championship, it will mean a rookie PSM champion two years in a roll after LE Tonglet pulled it off last year. “I’m living a dream,” Arana Jr. said. “This is amazing. I couldn’t have imagined this. My dad, my brother Adam and Dan (Gonzales) worked their butts off for me and we’re all clicking so well together. This Lucas Oil Buell is an absolute rocket and I couldn’t be happier.

Arana Jr. put more pressure on Vincent Nobile in the battle for the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award that honors the NHRA’s top rookie. Making things more interesting is the fact that Arana Jr. is dating Nobile’s older sister, Nicole. “It makes it a really tough battle for me and Vincent,” Arana Jr. said. “I’ve seen where there has been a tie before, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a tie. We’re both deserving. It’s not about the money. It’s about the reward.”

NHRA Phoenix results