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Lucas Oil rider Arana Jr. poised to repeat Four-Wide victory

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 12) - After a rough start to the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season for Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Jr., stellar qualifying sessions in Charlotte have him as a top contender to take home the win at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

As it was for the rest of the Lucas Oil Pro Stock Motorcycle team, Q2 was the fastest session for Arana. He launched himself to the No. 2 spot and never relinquished it with a pass of 6.825 seconds at 196.24 mph. He will face off in the first round of final eliminations Sunday against No. 7 Eddie Krawiec, No. 10 Angie Smith, and No. 15 Jim Underdahl.

"We really tried to bring home that No. 1 qualifying spot this weekend," Arana said. "We made a little mistake for Q1, and that might have hurt us in the long run. If we would have gotten in that first qualifying run, we might have had a good tune-up for the second pass. Q2 seemed to be the fast session for everyone, and that's when Michael Ray took the No. 1 spot."

Even though Arana fell a little bit short of backing up his No. 1 qualifying spot from the 2013 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, his main focus now is defending his event title.

"I'm not going to complain with the No. 2 starting spot," Arana said. "We ran the lowest e.t. of Q4 and that was in the heat. All weekend I have had good reaction times and I've been really comfortable on the bike. We know exactly what we're going to do Sunday morning, and I feel like we have the perfect setup to take home the win. I'm ready to go."

Arana will begin his event title defense when final eliminations at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals start at 12:45 p.m. ESPN2 will carry the action in tape delay beginning at 8 p.m., Sunday.