Eddie Krawiec refers to them as “The Hectors.”
The two-time and reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Eddie Krawiec, undisputed leader in the class so far this NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, speaks of them collectively. It’s as if he believes he’s being stalked by two superhero nemeses rolled into one.
Never mind that Andrew Hines, Krawiec’s Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson teammate, is Krawiec’s closest competitor in the standings, winning the one race Krawiec left for somebody else. “The Hectors,” the father-son Lucas Oil Buell tandem of Hector Arana Senior and Junior, have been shut out so far in four races this season.
Each Arana has reached a final round this season. However, Senior red-lighted to assure Krawiec the victory at Englishtown, and Hines cut a perfect light in the final round to ace out Junior at Houston.
The Aranas have shown themselves threats to the Harley-Davidson duo. Senior was No. 1 qualifier and set low elapsed time of the meet at both Houston and Atlanta. They excel in qualifying, with Senior earning 25 qualifying bonus points and Junior grabbing 15.
Junior is third in the Pro Stock Motorcycle standings, just 24 points behind second-place Hines. No. 4-ranked Senior trails his son by eight points.
For the Aranas, this so far has been a close-but-no cigar season. They make their presence known, but Krawiec and to a lesser extent Hines simply ignore them when it counts.
And even with six races remaining before the Countdown to the Championship fields are determined, Arana Sr. seems to feel that urgency.
Arana Sr. hasn’t won since the September 2009 Dallas race, capping a five-victory season that gave him the series championship by two points over Krawiec.
He’s depending on his motor he named “Forrest,” in honor of Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas, his racing sponsor and his boss at the production plant at Corydon, Ind.
“Forrest is mean,” Arana Sr. said. “The motor, not my sponsor. He’s coming on strong, just like the real Forrest runs his company. We’ve got to hit the mark, and we’ve got to win.”
Junior seems more perturbed that the bike class made just three appearances in the first five months of the season and just four in the first nine overall national events.
“What’s crazy is that we have another month off,” Arana Jr. said after the Englishtown appearance. “Then the season starts to roll. The breaks are nice in a way, because we have time to work on the engines and find more horsepower. But in another way, it’s like, ‘Come on already. Let’s get going.’
“You like to get into the groove of things. You start to get your riding consistent. But when you have a month off and you don’t ride, and then you get back on, you feel rusty,” he said.
You like to get into the groove of things. You start to get your riding consistent. But when you have a month off and you don’t ride, and then you get back on, you feel rusty.
Junior won three races last year while battling and beating buddy Vincent Nobile (of the Pro Stock class) for NHRA rookie-of -the-year recognition. So he’s ready to earn that first victory this season.
“It’s motivating,” he said. “I want to get that win, but I’m not worried about it. I know it’s coming.”
The Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule — and the bike-class schedule — resumes next weekend at Route 66 Raceway at Joliet, Ill., with the O’Reilly Route 66 Nationals.
The facility just south of Chicago has been relatively friendly to the Aranas. Senior owns the track E.T. record at 6.894 seconds he set in June 2010. Junior was top qualifier there last year.
This race isn’t all that far from the family home at Milltown, Ind., where Hector and Grace Arana brought up sons Hector and Adam, a Lucas Oil Buell rider in waiting, and daughter Abigail. All but Mom work at the Lucas Oil production plant.
Arana Sr. said his job there is “whatever they ask me to do. I don’t care. I can machine a part, make a piston, fabricate something, work on the truck, mop the floor if I have to.”
Has he mopped floors there?
“Yes, I have,” he said, explaining that Forrest Lucas “believes that there’s no one dedicated to one thing only. He needs something, he asks you, and you just do it. He never gave up. He believed in me.”
But Arana, the first recipient ever of a Lucas Oil sponsorship in an ever-expanding fraternity, is clearly happy to do that for the Lucases and their business. “He gave me the chance, and I’ve got to do the same thing back — whatever it takes,” Arana said. “I don’t care what I have to do.”
He gave me the chance, and I’ve got to do the same thing back — whatever it takes. I don’t care what I have to do.
When Arana qualified No. 1 at Atlanta this year, he said he planned to “treat the V-Rod guys to some margaritas.”
Krawiec accepted. “It’s on you, Hector,” he said.
Said Arana of the margaritas, “I’ll buy him a lot of them.” A grin as broad as the brim of his trademark white Panama hat spread across his face as he sloughed off the notion that his on-track feat will be costing him.
“I’m looking at the long term,” Arana Sr. said.
Ditto for his son. So “The Hectors” just might give each other as much of a battle down the stretch as they cooperatively give the Harley-Davidson team.
It’s just one more reason to keep an eye on the intriguing Pro Stock Motorcycle class.