CONCORD If theres anyone in the NHRA garage area who can sympathize with John Force, its Hector Arana Sr.
Like the well-known Force, who has two of his daughters racing in NHRAs top divisions, Arana races against his two sons, Hector Jr. and Adam, in the pro stock motorcycle division.
And like Force, Hector Sr. is on pins and needles every time his sons pull their bikes into the staging area before a race.
I definitely know how (Force) feels, Hector Sr. said Friday at zMax Dragway, the site of this weekends NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Ive seen how he paces around and watches his daughters, and makes sure everythings safe.
Im the same way. Thats why I work on their bikes first. I take extra time, and they show up to help me, but they come first. I have to make sure they have the best, and that everything is safe. Thats one less thing I have to worry about at the staging area.
Hector Sr., 54, won the 2009 pro stock motorcycle championship, and has six career wins; Hector Jr., 24, is the 2011 rookie of the year, has four career wins and currently leads the division points; while 21-year-old Adam is in his rookie year on the NHRA tour.
Yet Hector Sr. didnt push his sons into becoming pro drag racers. I never encouraged them to be a racer; actually, I did not want them to race, he said. But they came to me and said, Dad, I want to race.
While Hector Sr. hasnt raced against Adam yet, he has gone side-by-side with Hector Jr. five times over the past three seasons. The edge, so far, has gone to Hector Jr. 3-2, including a semifinal win at last months event at Gainesville, Fla.
I definitely want to beat him, said Hector Sr., who was 19th-fastest after Fridays qualifying round. If he beats me, hes got to beat me. But Im also paying attention to where theyre at; if I can hear him, I know everythings going OK.
Rain thwarts qualifying: Off-and-on afternoon showers played havoc with qualifying Friday in the top four divisions, with only one division getting in a full round before NHRA officials called it a day.
John Hall of Hamden, Conn., made a pass of 6.930 seconds at 191.08 mph to lead qualifying in the pro stock motorcycle division, edging Scotty Pollacheck of Medford, Ore., by 0.009 second (6.939 seconds at 193.10 mph).
Shawn Gann of Stoneville, N.C., was third (6.943 seconds at 193.93 mph), with Matt Smith of King, N.C. the winner of the Four-Wide Nationals pro stock motorcycle title in 2010 fourth-best (6.961 seconds at 182.01 mph).
Ten drivers in the pro stock division also got in runs before showers halted qualifying, led by Shane Gray of Denver, N.C. (6.601 seconds at 210.67 mph).
Because of the rainout, qualifying for the top fuel, Funny Car and pro stock divisions will be shortened Saturdays final two rounds. The pro stock motorcycle division will also run two rounds Saturday.
Saturdays schedule: The pro stock and pro stock motorcycle divisions will have their two qualifying rounds at 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., while the top fuel and Funny Cars will have qualifying runs at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The final qualifying rounds for the alcohol top dragster and Funny Car divisions and pro modifieds will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, followed by the opening round of eliminations for all three divisions beginning at 4 p.m.