GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Hector Arana Jr. became the first Pro Stock Motorcycle racer to top 200 mph at an NHRA event when he broke the elusive barrier at Gainesville Raceway on Friday.
Arana reached 200.23 mph during his second qualifying run for the Gatornationals.
Five drivers, including Arana, had previously topped 199 mph in the quarter-mile. Arana set the previous record of 199.88 mph in March 2015 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fellow Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Eddie Krawiec first topped 199 mph seven years ago at Gainesville Raceway.
The 200 mph barrier had been expected to be broken in 2018. NHRA sponsor DENSO Auto Parts even announced a $10,000 bonus earlier Friday to the first Pro Stock Motorcycle driver to reach the speed. Pro Stock Motorcycles are making their season debut at the Gatornationals, the third event of the NHRA season.
“I would’ve never thought that was a run to go 200 (mph),” Arana Jr. stated. “At the beginning of today, we didn’t have our front fairings, front exhaust pipes and we weren’t ready at all. I don’t even know what the tune-up is on the bike. It’s honestly really incredible we did that.”
So Arana’s run landed him a paycheck. The spark plug maker also agreed to split another $10,000 between the next three racers to break the barrier.
It was somewhat fitting it happened at Gainesville Raceway. The historic drag strip was the site of drag racing’s first 300 mph run. Kenny Bernstein was nicknamed “King of Speed” after topping 300 mph in the quarter-mile on March 20, 1992.