Hector Arana Jr: NHRA’s first official 200 MPH Pro Stock Motorcycle rider

Two-Wheel Barrier Breaker

Words by Tom McCarthy

Photos by Tom McCarthy, Steve Gruenwald and Adam Cranmer


In drag racing, records are made to be broken and they are again and again no matter if they are elapsed time or miles-per-hour records; fall they will as performance gains happen year after year. Yet the barrier breakers, the few who breach the seemingly impossible, they are the ones who get their names inscribed in the history books, never to be forgotten, as they were the first to open the horsepower flood gates.


This was the case when Kenny Bernstein (aka The King of Speed) first broke the 300 MPH barrier for NHRA Top Fuel cars in 1992 during the Gatornationals. His 301.70 MPH ushered in a new era in Top Fuel car racing and the cars are never going back below that benchmark of speed.


In similar fashion, also accomplished at the NHRA Gators, on March 16, 2019, Hector Arana Jr. joined Bernstein by posting the first 200 MPH clocking for an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle, when he stopped the Gainesville Raceway clocks at 200.23 MPH, during qualifying for the 49th annual Gatornationals. This run will forever inscribe Hector Arana Junior’s name in the history books as the man who ushered in the new 200 MPH era for NHRA Pro Stock motorcycles.


On the evening of Friday March 16th, Hector and his Lucas Oil-sponsored team were out to improve on their first qualifying session run of 7.02 @ 196.39 MPH run made earlier in the day. The 2011 NHRA Rookie of the Year, now a seasoned veteran NHRA racer, launched well, but his 1.11 sixty-foot time was a little soft and the run produced a 6.93 elapsed time, which moved him up to the #10 qualifying position out of 20 entries. Then people began to notice the 200.23 MPH up on the score board.


The crowd slowly began a loud round of applause and Hector’s teammates began the high-five’s and there was more hugging going on than a stadium full of Promise Keepers in celebration. Soon many spectators were on their feet in loud celebration. Anyone who thinks NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle is not loved and appreciated by the fans is sadly mistaken. The approval of the fans was very visible and audible.


Hector commented in a post qualifying interview, “My father and my team -- we were so close to that number for so long, other teams were too, it was very nerve wracking. But getting it done for us was HUGE!”

By coincidence or by providence, earlier on that fateful Friday, with the 49th Gators being the start of the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle season, Denso Spark Plugs announced their new 200-MPH club and offered up a $10,000 bounty for the first NHRA PSM to officially break into the 200 MPH realm. So, when Hector Arana Jr. posted that 200.23 MPH run, his team earned an extra 10-large in the process. 


As an added bonus, the run was a complete surprise to the team, as the bike was for the most part a new build. They actually received new body parts for their EBR, V-Twin bike and an exhaust system, just hours before qualifying began. So, they were not unhappy with the initial 7.02 clocking which they improved to 6.93 with just a minor adjustment. That the 200.23 MPH suddenly was there, was serious icing on the cake.


The quest for 200 for the NHRA Pro Stock motorcycles became intense in the year 2011, when Eddie Krawiec ran 199.26 MPH on March 11 during the Gators’ first round of qualifying with his Harley V-Rod. Since that time, ten more NHRA PSM racers would run 199+ MPH without crossing the 200-MPH mark. Then in 2018, the 29-year-old Arana etched his name in the history books for all time.


He described the run this way, “I let go of the clutch and it blew the tire away and made a move to the wall. I thought briefly about getting out of it, but I’m glad I stayed in it. I just kept tucked in and plugged in the gears. When I was slowing down, before the turn off, I saw my dad jumping up and down. That’s when it hit me - what had happened.“


Since that fateful run in March of 2018, only two other racers, Eddie Krawiec (200.08) and Matt Smith (200.65) have joined Hector Arana Jr. in the official Denso Spark Plugs 200 MPH club. In the years to come, other NHRA Pro Stock bikes will cross the 200 mark. One day fans and racers will no doubt see P/S-M become a 200-MPH class and the first all 200-MPH qualified field will happen.


But only one racer can lead the way and for the NHRA Pro Stock motorcycles, the racer who did that was Hector “200 MPH” Arana Jr.


2018 Arana Racing Lucas Oil Motorcycle specifications:

Chassis: Kosman

Weight race ready: 625 LBS (March – 2018)

Body Style: EBR design by Arana Racing in conjunction with Kirkman Composites

Motor: 160 CID, S&S Gen 1, 60 degree, by Arana Racing

MOTECH Fuel injection system

Power Rating: close to 400 HP

Consumes close to 1 pint of racing gasoline during a run

Gas Tank: Aprox 90 OZ

Official NHRA record setting performance:

First 200 MPH by an NHRA PSM: 6.93 @ 200.23 MPH, 16 March 2018

Special Thanks to: God, my father, my team, Lucas Oil Motorcycle Products. 



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