This season, for the first time since 1989, Hector Arana Sr. isn’t likely to make a pass on a Pro Stock Motorcycle, but don’t dare ask him if he’s retired. He is not.
“No. I’m definitely not retired,” he notes with authority. “I’m just taking a little break for now. I'm sure at some point I'll be back because I already miss it.”
With a career that spans 30 years, 326 events, and seven victories Arana figures he deserves a bit of a breather and who could argue with him? Although he’s not riding, Arana Sr. is busier than ever. These days, his main priority is helping to advance the career of his son, Hector Jr., who is still very active in the class. Arana Sr. maintains the team’s Lucas Oil EBR at his shop in Southern Indiana and tunes the bike at the track.
“We decided to run one bike for now because I really have to get Junior fast again,” said Arana Sr. “Gainesville was going to be my last race for a while but then it got [postponed] so I just decided to take a break and not run this year. I could come back out but right now, I don’t think so. With me, you never, know but my priority right now is his bike. It’s just not right and I need to get it fixed.”
Last month’s E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals marked the first event of the season for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class and Hector Jr. qualified No. 8 and reached the semifinals before falling to first-time winner Ryan Oehler. While the event could be considered a success, Arana Jr never ran quicker than 6.92 over the weekend and that is a major cause for concern since the top bikes were in the 6.8s.
“We’re making progress, but something still isn’t right, and I can’t pinpoint it,” Arana said. “It’s not like an engine miss where you can just replace the whole ignition system if you need to. This is one of those deals where the bike just doesn’t run like it should run. We’ve looked at everything but obviously we’re missing it.”
Arana Sr. says he still wants to ride but he also knows that he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
“I am grateful for everything,” he says. “After 30 years I’m still out here racing with my son. What’s better than that? Nothing. I’ll tell you, nothing is better than that. It’s so gratifying when he does well and I’m also grateful that after all these years we’ve still got the support of Lucas Oil and the Lucas family. They’ve been with us from the beginning and we couldn’t have done this without them.”