12-11 "On The Road" With Luke Bogacki - You Wana Drive?
Carterville, IL
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I know I seem to say this in every one of my “On The Road” columns, but time sure flies when you’re having fun.  I can’t believe that the 2011 racing season is in the rearview mirror. It seems like just yesterday I was on a plane to California to run the Winter Nationals (but, it seems like just yesterday that I was loading up my old “Pooh brown” Nova and my Dad’s altered to go bracket racing in Texas… And that was nearly 15 years ago). I digress. I apologize for being absent here on DRR with “On the Road” since July, like I said the season just got away from me, and it was over before I knew it. As a result, we’ve got some catching up to do. Since I’m basically putting two columns into one (and we all know I’m pretty longwinded to begin with), I’m sure Scott will break this up into two segments. You know, the one that I should’ve written in October to talk about the third quarter of the season; and the current one to cover the last couple of months! Sorry for being such a slacker…

If you remember any of my incessant rambling from the last column, you’ll recall that I hadn’t enjoyed a particularly successful 2011 season on the race track coming into the summer months. While there were a few highlights along the way, that sentiment continued until very late in the season. I didn’t see the win lights that I expect to, and I torn up a bunch of parts this season. So it really wasn’t a great year, but life is good. With a great woman in my life and marriage on the horizon, a handful of business interests, and great friends to share life with, racing just doesn’t quite hold the priority it used to in my life. Don’t get me wrong; I still take this sport very seriously. I still put in the hours necessary to make the race cars and competition vehicles as competitive as possible, and I still want to win every time I go to the track… But it’s just not the end-all, be-all of life that it used to be for me. And that’s a good thing, especially this year. Had I endured a season like this five or ten years ago, it would’ve been a major emotional and financial setback. Today, a rough season isn’t the way I’d script it, but I can live with it.
My last column ended just like this one will begin, with a string of stellar runs in the opposite lane. I kicked off July with a trip to Muncie Dragway for Ed Beyer’s Firecracker Nationals, a three day big bucks race. After some changes to the combination and testing at home, I came into the event extremely confident in my ThisIsBracketRacing.com bracket dragster (the car I affectionately refer to as “Bruiser”). Well, Bruiser made a good showing, and its driver wasn’t terrible. My plan for the weekend was to avoid being too tricky: I had a good car, and I wanted to lay down nice runs without putting a huge burden upon myself at the finish line. My goal was to lay down a .015 total package, or less, every time I staged. While I executed that plan with a fair amount of precision, I guess the strategy wasn’t too sound. I laid down a lot of sub-.015 packages… And I watched my opponent’s win lights blink repeatedly. I went some rounds each day, but never got close to the big money.
If competing in the box class with the dragster was tough, No Box in the Vega was downright ridiculous. Sunday’s first round marked the fifth time on the weekend that I turned the button loose .018 or better in No Box and might as well have pulled over (my opponents package was better than my light). Five times! Needless to say, I got very frustrated. I had laid down 10 straight reaction times between .009 and .018, which for me, is stellar… And I had nothing to show for it. I pulled the 3000 RPM launch chip out of the ignition box, threw it across my pit area, and slid a 3200 chip in it’s place. My neighbor, watching what I’m sure was a humorous scene, said “What are you doing?”
I replied simply, “I’m chipping it up and I’m over it. If my light turns green, they lose.”
Believe it or not, that plan actually worked! I was .00 every round until the semi-finals, where I geeked with a .030 lamp but got away with it when Doug Caplinger turned it red by a thousandth (he’s still kicking himself for that one). In the final, it was my turn to light the crimson (which wasn’t shocking given my lights for the day) with a -.002 lamp alongside Evan Shoopman. While I hope a No Box runner-up won’t be the highlight of my season, the finish did salvage my weekend and pay my tab. The way things have been going recently, that’s a victory.
I left Muncie and headed south, back to Alabama, where I planned to spend a couple weeks with my mother. Mom has been threatening to move to Illinois, so I thought I’d speed up the process. I offered to put on my handyman cap (granted, it doesn’t fit real well), and do a bunch of work around her house in an effort to get it ready to put on the market.
I made it all the way to Scottsboro, AL, about 20 minutes from my old home in Woodville, on my way to my buddy Jeff Rucks’s house to drop the trailer for the week. There, I stopped for fuel, and my truck wouldn’t restart. I found that odd, seeing as I had just driven some 400 miles without issue. In the midst of trying to diagnose the problem, I ended up changing batteries (when I ran them down trying to start the truck) and cam position sensors. Thanks go out to Jeff and to Gregg Dawson for meeting me at the truck stop and offering assistance. When I bothered to check the oil, and poured over a gallon into the valve cover, I think I found the problem. She fired right up, and I was back on my way, albeit concerned: I did check the oil before I left home.
Regardless, I made it up the mountain and to Jeff’s house. Now, if I broke down, at least I wouldn’t have 50 feet of trailer behind me. Shortly thereafter, I did break down, in the thriving metropolis that is Geraldine, AL. Fortunately for me, I’m good friends with Jackie Rogers, who may as well be the mayor of Geraldine. Jackie arranged for a friend (they call him Joker) to tow my truck to the shop of another friend, Terry Brothers. As it turns out, Terry’s daughter races Junior Dragsters, and we struck up an immediate friendship. Better yet, he’s a diesel expert. And he agreed to let me work on the truck in his shop: he’ll point his finger and try to lead me in the right direction (and I won’t have to pay a huge mechanics fee).
The next morning, I arrived at Terry’s shop, and he recommended that I first change some valve on the front of the motor (I’d tell you the name of the valve if I could, but I can’t). With that, the old whip fired right up. Fantastic! After letting it run for awhile, checking for codes, and setting the fluid levels, I decide I’m good to go. I head back to Jackie’s house to exchange the truck he’d let me borrow to get to my Mom’s the night before, and head back to Guntersville to get started on the housework. I pick up Jackie to head back to Terry’s shop, and as we turn onto the main road in front of his house… My truck dies. Now what?
After some quick (and futile) diagnosis, we make another call to Joker, who pulls the duallie onto his rollback for the second time in as many days, and we make the trek back to Terry’s shop. There, we find that the unit has gone through roughly 2 gallons of oil in the 4 mile journey to Jackie’s house. This isn’t good. Terry diagnoses the problem, and determines that the likely culprit is a broken injector O-ring. The good news: I’ve had the injectors out before, so I can do that! The bad news: that’s a lot of work… And my father-in-law, Jack and I had just replaced the O-rings over the winter when we rebuilt the motor (so, I’m thinking that’s not a likely culprit). Nonetheless, I dive into the project head first.
I pull seven injectors and diligently replace O-rings that look just fine to me. Just as I’m thinking this is an absolute waste of a day, the last injector I pull out, sure enough, has an O-ring that’s all but disintegrated. I replace it, and with Terry’s help bolt everything back together. In the end, the little truck that could runs like a top again. Neither Terry nor Joker would accept a dime in compensation for their time or trouble. Maybe that’s because they felt sorry for me. Maybe it’s because I’m such a nice guy. Maybe it’s because I promised Terry we’d hold a Junior Dragster school at Sand Mountain Dragway and I’d waive the admission fee for his daughter. Or maybe it’s because Jackie’s the mayor, and they both know that he’ll make it right to them. Regardless of the reason, I’m very thankful to Joker, Terry Brothers, and Jackie Rogers for getting me back on the road as quickly (and as inexpensively) as possible.
I won’t bore you with the details of the week and a half at Mom’s house, but I got a lot done. Again, a thank you to Jackie, who came out with a friend of his and helped me paint Mom’s deck (a daylong project that would’ve taken me about 3 days on my own). I broke up the work with a trip to Sand Mountain Dragway on Friday night with the trusty Vega.
In round three of Pro, I ran a young man that looked about 2 years short of legal driving age. He was .005 package. Do you notice a trend here? In Footbrake, I squared off against one of our recent TIBR “Live” graduates, who quickly swapped roles from student to teacher and cracked me in the same round. So, while I had a good time, the trip to the Mountain was far from successful.
Against my better judgment, I let Jackie talk me into driving his ’64 Chevy II at Baileyton “Good Times” Dragway the following day. Here’s the way the conversation went…
Jackie: “You know, I’ve owned my race car for more than 30 years, and I’ve never seen it go down the race track.”
I replied, “You’ve never let anyone else drive it?”
“Nope. Do you want to drive it tomorrow?”
How could a guy turn that down? If you’ve ever seen Jackie’s car leave the starting line (it’s been known to do 300 foot, head-high wheelies), you’d understand that I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Chevy II wheelstand
Told you, Jackie’s Chevy II is cool!
So, we made our way to the “Good Time” Saturday night. I’m sure most of you have never been to the “Good Time,” and I’m here to tell you you’re missing out. It’s like no other race track you’ll ever go to. The “Good Time” is different. It’s country. It’s small. It’s borderline dangerous. It’s an old facility that isn’t in great shape. But the track crew and the racers are the nicest folks you’ll ever meet, the concession stand is awesome, they create an atmosphere that I’ve never seen anywhere else, and you really can’t help but have a good time at the “Good Time.” I could tell stories about the place for days, but this column just doesn’t allow the space. It’s a unique experience to say the least.
In my years of racing, I’ve driven just about every sportsman vehicle you could imagine. Short of dumping the clutch (I’ve never driven any manually shifted race car), you can name it, and I’ve done it. So the thought of driving a 6.20 Chevy II, even one that does huge wheelies, even at a pretty rough facility, wasn’t particularly intimidating. With that said, I looked like a complete football bat on my first attempt to get down the race track.
Jackie’s car is really “old-school.” It’s got a TH-350 transmission, without a transbrake. It leaves off a 4-wheel line-lock setup with a delay box. The controls and instrumentation have been added over the years (and none of the old removed)… The car has three water temperature gauges and 3 oil pressure gauges (one of each work). It has 4 different active delay box activating buttons (I would say “transbrake” buttons, but that’s not accurate). And it has at least a dozen switches throughout the cockpit in various locations: some are crucial, and some are not hooked to anything at all. The end result: on my first run, I attempted three burnouts and staged twice before actually going down the race track!
If you think that’s funny to read, you should’ve seen it in person. Here I am, a pretty successful “Professional” drag racer, that can’t manage to get a 6.20 door car down the race track… A 6.20 door car that a 60-year-old man wins in pretty consistently. Good times!
I regrouped, and by my second time trial I looked (and felt) much more comfortable. I turned loose the button, and the car immediately got up so high that I couldn’t tell if I was green or red. I glanced at the scoreboard long enough to see .00 but never saw the third number before it went out of view. When the scoreboard came back into my horizon, it read 1.42, as I was past the 60’ clock! Now that’s a fun ride! 
My wheelie fun came to an end in round 4, when I bumped it red. I also drove Jeff Rucks’ Monza in Footbrake, but I tore something up in the quarterfinal round and couldn’t run the number. That’s the easy explanation as to why I lost is, but in truth I was at least .030 behind on the tree, and I don’t think I can blame that one on the car!
After another week of handywork, I was off to my favorite race track, Beech Bend Raceway Park for the Tenn-Tuck Xtreme event in mid-July. Unfortunately, that weekend I did not experience the success I’ve come accustomed to in Bowling Green. I did not turn on a single win light in the Vega over three days. With the dragster, I got down to 5 cars in Friday’s $5,000-to-win event and was making crazy-good runs. All the testing and tinkering had paid off, and it was showing me 4.99 every run.  I wasn’t trying to play hero: I was dialed 4.99 and hitting the tree.
With five cars remaining, I ran into my nemesis, Jason McKague. If you’ve read this column much at all over the last year, you know that I simply cannot beat Jason or his brother Jeremy. If I have a .002 package, they’ll make a perfect run. If they red-light, I’ll cross the center line. I just can’t beat ‘em. This time around, I’m still dialed 4.99, and I know I can go 4.99. But when I’m .001 to his .032, I can see that I’m way ahead. At that point, the racer in me takes over (what fun would it be to ride down the track and run dead-on?)… You can guess how this ends… He’s dead-on 0 and I get .001 behind, to run .03 above. Arg.
The next morning, the car that I had worked on for two months to make just about perfect… blew up. Closer examination revealed a broken keyway in the cam gear on my belt drive timing system. The result was total carnage on the upper end of the engine. It happened right in the lights of my second round matchup, which I won. Of course, my buddy Bryan Robinson was doubling with me (he had hurt his own motor the day before), and we were both still in. When we removed a valve cover at the trailer in hopes of finding a quick, simple fix to the problem, 6 shaft rocker arms fell onto the ground. Yea, we’re not going to make the next round.
Despite repeated offers to drive other cars and requests from friends to stick around, I’d had all the fun I could stand. We drove home Saturday afternoon among my threats to quit racing altogether. Before I went to bed Saturday night, the motor was on the stand and the heads were off.
I quickly recanted on my threats of parking everything, and made a trip to Pacemakers Raceway the following weekend for Rick Baehr and Jeff Stewart’s Bottom Bulb Extravaganza. Rewind the tape and replay it for the weekend: I did a pretty good job. My car was awesome. I drove about as well as I can expect to. And I got my butt kicked. In the last event of the weekend, it finally came together, and I managed to win a $1200 gamblers race to salvage the weekend and come out in the green. It wasn’t a huge victory, but seeing as I hadn’t won a race in nearly three months, it felt like I just won the million.
And seeing as I actually won something, I figured this would be a great opportunity to thank the marketing partners who make my racing possible (and remain in my corner even through the dry spells). Huntsville Engine & Performance, Bill Taylor Enterprises, American Race Cars, JEGS, Mickey Thompson Tires, and K&N Engineering are a big part of my success. I rely on not only their products, but also their insight and expertise week in and week out. In addition, I use the products and services of the following companies within my racing operation: Ohlins Shocks, Dixie Racing Components, K&R Performance Engineering, Sparco Safety, Nitrous Express, Moser Engineering, Auto Meter, Nitroplate, Hedman Hedders, Todd’s Extreme Paint, Rockett Brand Racing Fuel, DragRaceResults.com, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, ISC Racer’s Tape, Advanced Product Design (APD), Frankenstein Racing Heads, Goza Racing Products, Wiseco, Milodon, Lucas Oil, B&M, Figseed.com, J&J Performance, Sunset Racecraft, PimpMyCrew.com, Charlie Stewart Race Cars, OK Motorsports, Tinsley Drilling & Company, and C.A.R.S. Protection Plus.
I57 Summer Doorcar Shootout
I rushed home from Ohio and dove immediately into last minute preparations for the inaugural JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout, the race that Scott Bailey and I dreamt up and put together at I-57 Dragstrip. Let me say that the entire experience gave me a whole new level of respect for people like Peter Biondo & Kyle Seipel; Jared Pennington & Steve Stites; Ed Beyer; George Howard; and every race promoter and track operator who make it look so easy. Putting on a drag race is a lot of work, more than we as racers could ever fully appreciate. 
With that said, the event was one of the more fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. To watch something take shape: from an idea, to a reality; it’s really cool. I know the race was covered in great depth here on DRR as well as several other major websites and publications, so I won’t waste a lot of time with a recap. We had a great crowd of nearly 170 talented door car racers, and although I’m pretty biased I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of those had a lot of fun on the weekend. The big winners were a pair of beautiful station wagons, as Rob “Dangerboy” Kropfeld earned the first $7500 check with his Vega wagon, and Rick Harless drove his wheelstanding Chevy II wagon to the victory in the second $7500 race. On the weekend, we paid out more than $30,000 in cash and gave away over $20,000 worth of prizes that were provided by a long list of fantastic event sponsors. It all went to the hardcore door car competitors that braved the elements (it was hot; real hot… When it wasn’t raining…) and supported the event.
I want to once again say thank you to Scott and Leigh Ann Bailey; I-57 Dragstrip owners and my partners for the weekend. They worked tirelessly and fearlessly to plan and run this event, and they deserve a lot of credit. They welcomed and embraced nearly every idea I presented (and even when I presented some they didn’t necessarily like, they gave me a long leash to work with!) The Bailey’s are incredible people and I couldn’t imagine anyone I’d rather partner with for this or any event.
Rob Kropfeld
The winner of the Moser Engineering, $7500 Main Event was Rob Kropfeld.
Our goal coming into the event was pretty simple: put the racers first and treat them the way we’d like to be treated as racers. I know it’s a simple concept, but I don’t think it’s often that EVERYONE involved truly buys in; and our staff did. The regular I-57 crew (Sammy, Arwa, Robbie, Ed, the starting line crew, the concession stand crew, EVERYONE involved) was fantastic. It would have been easy to be intimidated by the 160+ cars that rolled through the gate, but this crew did just the opposite. They embraced the opportunity to satisfy their customers, and they did an incredible job of that throughout the weekend. 
I also want to briefly recognize each of the people we brought in specifically for the event. As most of you know, Jared Pennington is incredible, and he did a great job announcing for us throughout the weekend. Jared’s uncle Harold, the owner of ETS Timing Systems, came in and oversaw the event. While we didn’t have any significant timing system issues, I felt a whole lot better knowing that if we did, we had the man for the job (and I think our racers appreciated that insurance policy as well). Mark Buttrum came in on short notice and handled all of our internet results feed for DragRaceCentral and DragRaceResults.com, and I can’t thank him enough for doing such a great job. 
Chevy II Wagon
Our second winner of the weekend was Rick Harless, who took home the $7500 top prize in Sunday’s BRODIX Main Event.
Rick Harless
In addition to just being cool race cars, station wagons have a built-in check holder, which came in handy for Mr. Harless..
And of course, I have to give a huge thank you to my bride-to-be, the wonderful Ms. Jessica Camden. Through a 33 hour + weekend, her enthusiasm never waivered and her beautiful smile never disappeared. She, along with Leigh Ann, Christina, and my mother Ellen did an incredible job at the front gate handling entries, buy backs, payout, prizes, and more. I couldn’t (and wouldn’t have) done this without her help and support. Thank you sweetheart!
And of course I want to thank our sponsors. JEGS, Moser Engineering, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, Ohlins Shocks, and The Fab Shop played a huge role in making our event happen and adding incentives for the racers. In addition, we had over 40 manufacturers who supplied merchandise and gift certificates for the racers. Just about every entrant at the JEGS SDCS went home with something of value; whether it was a cash prize or a product certificate. That goes a long way towards putting a smile on the face of competitors, and it wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous support of event sponsors.
Lastly, I want to thank each of you racers who came and supported the event. I’ve been to a lot of drag races in my day, and I’m pretty comfortable calling the inaugural JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout a great race. You can’t have a great race without great racers! So thanks again to each of you who made the trip and braved the elements to be a part of it. We hope to see you all back at I-57 for the 2012 version. The event will be largely unchanged, but Scott and I have a few new ideas to make the SDCS even better. Stay tuned, we’ll announce a date and details within the next month.
Following our race, making plans to travel to the annual World Super Pro Challenge in Stanton, MI the following weekend simply was not realistic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the event. And the Ledord’s (track owners at Mid-Michigan) are some of my favorite people. But I was spent from our race, and just couldn’t muster up the ambition to hit the road (especially considering that I had just recently blown up a bunch of stuff and didn’t really have anything to take to Michigan to begin with).
A new 350 SBC from Huntsville Engine and Performance had been delivered to the SDCS (thanks Jed and Timmy), so I did manage to find the ambition to drop it in the Vega by Saturday, and I made my way back to I-57 Dragstrip. This weekend, I would get to see the action from a more familiar position, the driver’s seat, rather than overseeing competition from the tower.
I had no way of knowing that what began as a very average Saturday night at the local dragstrip turned into one of, if not the most enjoyable events of my racing career. The weekly program at I-57 includes three categories: Super Pro, Pro (No Box), and Footbrake (in addition to Junior Dragsters, a Motorcycle class, and Trophy). When I do get the opportunity to carry the Vega out to the home track, I generally get my money’s worth by entering all three categories. On this particular evening, I figured that would be a great way to break in the new powerplant (hey, if it can’t live through 20+ runs in 5-6 hours, then I don’t want the darn thing).
I advanced to the quarterfinal rounds of competition and was still in all three categories. If you’ve ever done anything like this, that’s the point where it gets fun; because I hardly got to shut the car off between runs (at one point I made 3 passes in 10 minutes). To add to the fun, Jessica was going rounds in Super Pro with her Vega as well (Note to new readers: Yes, my fiancée races a Vega too! And yes, of course it was destiny… Love at first sight!).
I bowed out of Footbrake with 5 cars remaining when I gave back the finish line, but I won that round in Pro. Jess and I both advanced to the semi-final round in Super Pro. There, we were the two door cars remaining, and we managed to avoid having to run one another, which meant we were both paired with dragsters. Jess and her opponent ran first, and as I pulled out of the water for my burnout, I’ll admit to giving an “attagirl” and a fist pump in the car when her win light came on.
I proceeded through my burnout, and into my normal pre-race routine before it hit me. I just saw my sweetie’s win light come on, and she’s in the final. The majority of her family is on the starting line; I couldn’t help but watch them celebrate her victory from the corner of my eye as I did a burnout. They’re anxiously awaiting the outcome of my round and anticipating a final that’s all in the family. And it dawned on me… I better win this round. 
I’m telling you right now, it was less than a year prior that I staged up for the final round of Super Comp at the NHRA divisional event in Reynolds, GA knowing that a victory would put me in the lead of the NHRA standings (and likely earn me the world championship). I didn’t feel any more pressure for that round of competition than I did for this one! Just to pile it on, I was racing a guy that had dominated locally all season: Barry Greene went on to win the track championship by a wide margin. 
We had a really good run, but fortunately for me, my win light blinked and I got the opportunity to race Jessica in the final round. When I asked her if we were just going to split the prize money evenly, she laughed and said “No way.” That’s my girl! Just about everyone who was still at the facility by the time the final rolled around had made their way to the staging lanes to witness our on-track clash, but it was short-lived. I lit the red light in the final. She actually fouled by a larger margin, but I left first as the slower car, giving her the victory and eternal bragging rights. Although my night ended with a runner-up finish, the whole episode was pretty specialJessica Camden
Jessica sporting the #1, alongside myself sporting the "L" right after our final round race. 
To put icing on the cake, I also managed to win the Pro class that night, so not only did Jess and I get to race each other in the final, we also got to share the winner circle. That’s a memorable night to be sure!
As notable as that weekend was, the following two were equally forgettable. The highlight of the next weekend was attending a Pat Green concert in Cape Girardeau, MO on Friday night (Pat rocks). Saturday, I ventured over to Chandler Motorsports Park near Evanville, IN with the Vega for a $5,000 race but had no success. I got smacked around in No Box and on my first Super Pro entry. With my last entry I advanced to the round of 12 cars where I made a pretty solid lap for the L: I think I was .012 and took .002, but my opponent was .000 and .010 above.
A week later I made the haul to Columbus, OH for Mike Fuqua and Dave Szerlag’s JEGS U.S. Doorslammer Open. Dave and Mike’s races are always a good time, and this one was no different. But for whatever reason I never seem to have any success at there events, and this one again, was no different. I don’t remember the details, but I’m pretty sure I can’t even claim this one as a weekend where I drove well and didn’t get the breaks. I’m pretty sure I just sucked.
I spent the final weekend of August at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, KY, making my only NHRA Lucas Oil Division Race appearance of the 2011 season. Hey, I said at the beginning of the year that I was going bracket racing, and I’m a man of my word. I realize that I have two gold cards, so running national and divisional events actually makes more sense, but I got burnt out on the NHRA experience at the end of 2010 and I wanted to put more emphasis on the bracket scene in 2011.
For Bowling Green, I dusted the mothballs off my 2010 American Race Cars dragster (the one I refer to as the “Rocket”), which hadn’t left the shop since I ran the national event in Bristol back in early June. In order to earn a second grade point at the event (and take advantage of a second gold card), I also decided to take the crazy little Vega and run Super Gas. Yep, you read it right: I had arguably the best Super Comp ride at the track. My “Rocket” runs 8.90 at 180 mph, and it runs whatever I set it up to run just about every pass. And, I had arguably the worst Super Gas ride at the track. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Vega, but it’s not a Super Gas car. 9.90 @ 128 mph, and staging like a dump truck to get a competitive reaction time is not normally a recipe for success.
american dragster
The Rocket is a nasty, nasty 8.90 machine.
Since I didn’t have a great weapon for the Super Gas war, I figured I’d pick on a duck in the opening round. I hooked defending national champion David Tatum. Not only is Tatum awesome behind the wheel, he’s also driving a Cavalier that runs 9.90 at 170 miles per hour (only about 40 more than the earth shaking clip of my Vega). Honestly, all things considered I did a helluva job in the opening round. I was set up to be .010 on the tree (ok, “set up” is a gracious term… If I didn’t deep stage, and actually waited for the light to come on before I released the button, I can’t be better than .010. My Super Gas setup requires neither a delay box or a starting line RPM chip), and to run 9.89 (yea, that’s all I’ve got… 9.89 wide open, no throttle stop necessary). All I gotta do is hit the tree and kill .01.
Well, I did the first part: I was .012. When we left, however, I didn’t think I moved on him. As I made my way down the track, I kept looking back to see that he still hadn’t kicked off the stop. Geez, I’m way ahead. Once he started coming I could see that he wasn’t going to catch me. “Wow, I’m ahead.” So I started to pump the throttle. “I’m still ahead.” So I pumped it some more. We crossed the finish line, and I was actually pretty sure I did a good job. I knew I crossed first, and I was pretty sure I made it fairly close. I couldn’t see the win lights during the daylight, so all the way up the return road I convinced myself that I won. “I had to win. I killed like .03 or .04 and I crossed first. I just beat the champ!”
Not so much.
My effort was pretty admirable. I was .012 and took .010… To go 9.899. He was .010 and 9.91. Oh well, it’s not like it was a round I was supposed to win!
In Super Comp, my weekend went a lot better. My car was awesome, and I got a lot of breaks. Plus, on the few instances where I had to make a good run to win, I happened to do so. In the end, I got to carry home the “Wally” trophy from Bowling Green for the second consecutive year. Better yet, both Jess and my mother Ellen were onhand to be a part of it. Now that’s pretty cool!
Luke Bogacki
Mom, myself, and Jess.
Okay readers… That gets us through the 3rd quarter of 2011, and brings us up to date (sort of) for the column that should have been written 2 months ago. Hey, I always say if you can’t get it done on time, then get it done when you can! Sorry for the delay. If you endured all that rambling and still have the hunger for more (wow, it must be the offseason), then stay tuned. I promise to get the season-ending column together before 2012!

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