SONOMA, CA – Looking for redemption after an early exit in Denver last weekend, Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Adam Arana continued to work out the initial kinks of using a new motor during both days of qualifying for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
Qualifying started off slow for the youngest Arana, but in his last attempt in Q4 the ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV Buell rider pulled out his fastest pass of the weekend, a 6.921 at 194.07 mph, to move up the Pro Stock Motorcycle ladder.
“The new motor is running better than what we had in Denver but still not quite up to par for my standards,” Arana said. “It’s all about finding that right balance between the bike setup and the rider’s style of riding. We just haven’t found that right pairing yet, but we will make a tune-up for tomorrow’s eliminations and I know we will run better.”
He made his best pass of the weekend in the third qualifying session, a lap of 6.862 seconds at 196.73 to earn the No. 8 qualifying spot, but that run also served as the first round of eliminations for the MiraMonte Records NHRA Pro Bike Battle, where Arana had to race his son. Arana won that round in a bittersweet battle against Hector Jr.
“I had to race my son and I was not looking forward to that,” Arana said. “But I know one of us has to win and I know he wants to beat me, too. It was kind of sad for me. I think if it would’ve been a lot closer, where you couldn’t tell who won, it would’ve been easier to take.”
SONOMA, CA – Lucas Oil Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan isn’t a superstitious person, but he’s ready to make some drastic changes to alter his luck at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Morgan likes to wear his favorite brand of underwear on Sundays with “Lucky” written on the waistband, but after a difficult Saturday in Sonoma, he has a different plan.
“I think we’re going to put ‘un’ in front of ‘lucky,’ ” Morgan said. “No, I have a better idea: I think we’ll burn them. Maybe that will take this curse off us.”
Morgan’s misfortune Saturday mirrored those of the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a baseball World Series since 1908. Morgan’s drought isn’t that long, but it might seem like it this weekend.
SONOMA, CA – With his best qualifying effort in the last four races, GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton is ready for a long day at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Crampton’s pass of 3.799 seconds at 324.05 mph put him in the No. 5 spot, his best position since Epping, N.H. That day, Crampton raced to the semifinals, a performance he’d like to repeat — and then some.
“I’m always confident with Aaron Brooks and this entire GEICO team putting together a fantastic race car,” Crampton said. “It’s great to be in the top half of the field. That obviously adds to the confidence. I think we should have a successful race day tomorrow.”
Crampton lines up against Mike Salinas in the first round of eliminations. Salinas qualified No. 12 with a lap of 3.905 seconds at 287.96 mph.
The leading contender for the NHRA rookie of the year award, Crampton took advantage of the best weather conditions of the weekend in the second qualifying session. The 3.799-second pass could have been faster, but Brooks wanted to make sure Crampton got down the track in Q2.
Last year’s race winner has not had the speed he expected in 2014, but he knows race day is an opportunity to turn things around.
“We’re a little bit out of sorts right now,” Arana said. “I don’t know how that even happened because according to the notes we’re not that far off. We’ll have to study the graphs from the computer closely and come up with the best game plan for tomorrow.”
Sonoma, CA – The elimination ladders are set for the 27th annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Sonoma Nationals, the second stop on the three race NHRA western swing, and Mopar’s Pro Stock and Funny Car drivers are ready to test their mettle at Sonoma Raceway.
Allen Johnson and the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart secured the No. 3 qualifying position for Sunday’s Pro Stock eliminations with his quickest pass of the weekend on his final lap by posting an elapsed time run of 6.547 seconds / 212.16 mph pass. Johnson’s Mopar was second quickest in that final session to give him a total of six bonus points earned over four qualifying runs to officially clinch a playoff berth for the “Countdown to the Championship.” He will see Tommy Lee as his first round opponent on Sunday.
The JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart driver looked strong from the start of qualifying on Friday, but it was Coughlin’s pass in Q3 that proved to be his best. His 6.552 at 212.03 mph was fast enough to land him in the No. 5 qualifying spot overall with possibly more speed left in the tank for Sunday.
“Going into game day I feel pretty good,” Coughlin said. “We made a decent run right out of the trailer to be fifth in Q1. We came back next round and got bumped back to sixth, but we still had a lot left in the stable. Our best run came this morning in Q3 and it moved us up to fourth.