NHRA - Arana Jr. Cracks Open The 200MPH Pro Stock Motorcycle Club
The Amalie OIL NHRA Gatornationals was the first race on the 2018 season for the sanctioning body’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Like Pro Modified, Pro Stock Bike runs a limited schedule, competing at 12 of the 24 races on the season. As a part of the PSB season kickoff, Denso Spark Plugs announced the creation of the 200 MPH Club, a special promotion to recognize the first four riders to eclipse what could be the last major barrier in professional drag racing. The first rider to eclipse the barrier would be awarded with a check for $10,000 and the spot in the record books, as well as a commemorative jacket. The next three riders will also get jackets and their spot in history as members of the exclusive club.
The press conference announcing the club’s creation came just before the first qualifying session on Friday at the Gators. Before the end of the second session that afternoon, the club would have its first member! I was watching the live timing in the media suite when famed NHRA announcer Alan Reinhardt pointed out the relatively lazy 60’ on Hector Arana Jr’s second qualifying attempt. I had just about enough time to think “I bet they geared the bike for MPH instead of 60’ times…” before Reinhardt blasted the news to the world and the scoreboards verified the feat: Two hundred point two three miles per hour.
Just like that, the barrier had fallen. The elapsed Time was indeed lazy, only a 6.93 that wouldn’t have even qualified him for the sixteen bike field, but few people outside of those building the qualifying sheets for the NHRA even noticed the ET. The crowd erupted into a roar of celebration and jubilation as Arana Jr coasted to a stop from the highest speed ever recorded in the classes history. He would collect the $10,000 check from Denso and his 200 MPH Club jacket and get back to work dialing the bike in to drop the ET down where it needed to be for the weekend.
For those trivia buffs out there, here’s a little tidbit I had a hard time wrapping my head around: that last MPH took almost exactly 7 years to find. Eddie Krawiec ran the first 199 MPH pass at this same event all the way back in 2011.