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Arana Sr. hopes test provides valuable information for Four-Wide Nationals


CHARLOTTE (April 8) - Before the second Pro Stock Motorcycle race of the season, this weekend's NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, Lucas Oil Buell rider Hector Arana Sr. will head to Rockingham, N.C., to test.

Arana had a problem with his data-collection system at the first Pro Stock Motorcycle race in Gainesville, Fla., and did not get any digital information to tune his bike.

"In Gainesville, we didn't have any data because our RacePak wasn't working," Arana said. "We need to make up for that and see what we have so we can tune and try to be ready for Charlotte. We want to qualify in a better position that what we did in Gainesville."

Arana qualified No. 9 in Gainesville and bowed out in the first round when his Buell developed a mechanical issue. The problem might have been prevented had the data system been working, forcing Arana to tune by the seat of his pants.

"You're afraid to make a bigger move without the data," Arana said. "You make small changes so you can be a little bit better, but you also know that you need more than what you've got. You don't want to get in left field if you make that big change."

The Rockingham test should provide Arana a good baseline for Charlotte, but he'll have more on his mind than his bike's tune-up: This is the only race on the schedule where bikes race in four lanes, providing riders a unique challenge.

"I was having a conversation with (son) Adam about this," Arana said. "I warned him to stay focused and worry about what's going on and what everyone is doing so you don't get left behind. I told him to notice the little things, like if you're pre-staged and everyone else is staged or if you're the first one to stage.

"You've got to be focused on your Tree, but you have to also be aware of what everyone is doing so you can find yourself staged and be ready for the light."

The most difficult part of four-wide racing is the staging procedure, especially on race day.

"You might not see it during qualifying, but in eliminations someone can be playing the game to throw people off," Arana said. "It's a lot easier to play games because there's a lot more going on, so that's why you have to be careful on Sunday."

Qualifying rounds for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals are set for 1:15 and 4:15 p.m., on both Friday and Saturday. Final eliminations, which will be broadcast in tape delay on ESPN2, will begin at noon, Sunday.