NHRA Route 66: Hector Arana Jr. repeats as PSM winner; Allen Johnson earns 25th Pro Stock win

Leave a comment
Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Hector Arana Jr. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

JOLIET, Il. – For Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Jr., Sunday’s finals of the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals was déjà vu.

For veteran Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson, it was the first time – and also the 25th time at the same time.

Such was the way things played out in the two classes.

Arana won for the second straight year at Route 66, defeating Matt Smith for his 10th career win in the two-wheel ranks.

“Definitely, this is one of my favorite tracks,” Arana said. “It’s a great track, I love the facility.

“They’ve got a nice fishing hole out back, so every night we go fishing and then we go racing. It’s a blast.”

Arana defeated his father, Hector Arana Sr., in last year’s final round at Route 66 for his first win of the season.

While his opponent Sunday was not his father, it again was the younger Arana’s first win of 2015.

“We knew we had the bike (to win),” he said. “I wish my dad could have made it to the finals with me again. We were able to get another Lucas Oil bike (he and his father are sponsored by the company) into the final round, and especially at a Lucas Oil event, that’s all that matters.”

Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals Pro Stock winner Allen Johnson. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

MORE: NHRA: Final finishing order, results, round-by-round and standings after Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals

Johnson, meanwhile, finally broke through for his first win ever at Route 66, defeating fellow Pro Stock veteran Larry Morgan. It was also Johnson’s first win of 2015.

But the victory was made even more special by the fact it was a significant milestone in Johnson’s career: his 25th career Pro Stock national event victory.

“Today, the team went out and really dug in and was able to make consistent runs … and pull off the win,” Johnson said. “I had confidence coming into here, and this will give us a little more confidence.

“Twenty-five wins, that’s just unbelievable. It puts me in the record books with some of the top racers forever.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).