05-13 "On The Road" With Luke Bogaki - Plus One Small Addition
Carterville, IL
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It’s hard to believe that 5 months have passed since my last check-in here at DRR.  You know what I always say: Time flies when you’re having fun.  While the past months have brought many sleepless nights (in the shop, on the road, and more recently in the house), a lot of nerve wracking worry and anxious restlessness, and a ton of work; it has been a lot of fun.  In an effort to keep this column from becoming a novella, I’ll jump right into the details.

When we last touched base I was trudging through the snow just after Christmas.  At that point, I only had a few things to do before kicking off the 2013 season in Pomona.  You know, just standard issue stuff…  Get the Vega, two trailers, and two trucks ready for another season of abuse.  And get a whole new combination together for the Corvette.  Update the signage on all three cars, trailer, crew uniforms, apparel, handout cards, etc.  Oh yea, and assemble a new American Race Cars dragster from stem to stern, new motor and all.  Did I mention we’ve got a baby on the way?  So go ahead and play construction guru and convert the office into a nursery.  Of course, I’ll still need an office; so we need to remodel one of the attached garages into an office and workout room.  Meanwhile, obviously run ThisIsBracketRacing.com, promote the 3rd annual Summer Door Car Shootout, and take on a new venture to promote a trade show.  Did I mention the season starts in mid-February?  2500 miles from home? 

In my last column, I included a picture of my new dragster just after I’d picked it up from American.  It was just skin and bones.  Actually that’s not even accurate: Todd’s Extreme Paint had the skin, I just had the bones, as in a bare chassis.  Assembly went really well, and I’m very proud of the new whip. 

The new TIBR machine features Mickey Thompson wheels and tires, which are attached to a complete Moser Engineering 9” rear end assembly.  I went with Moser’s chromemoly M9 housing, along with Moser 40 spline axles (gun drilled, star flange), an aluminum third member with lightened gears, and Moser’s new line of Pro Drag disc brakes (which are really nice; you can check out my Tech Talk column on TIBR for more information).  Of course an Ohlins TTX shock controls the suspension, and in my quest to shed a few pounds I added a carbon fiber wing from American Race Cars as well as a carbon fiber scoop from K&N. 

Dragster Rear End

The electronics are all from K&R Performance Engineering, as I’ve used K&R stuff since I was a kid (my first non-thumbwheel box was one of the old gold K&R shoeboxes.  Remember those?).  I went with a Pro-Cube II delay box and Severe Duty Switch Panel setup.  The timer controls a Dedenbear electric throttle stop.  I would not build a new machine without the Auto Meter Multi-Function Data Logger dash, and I used up all of the channels to monitor the vitals like pressures, temperatures, 02 readings, rpm, vacuum, and more.  Like all of my past dragsters, this one features a B&M Stealth Pro Bandit shifter and electric solenoid from Dixie Racing Products.

dragster dash

Of course all of the transmission and torque converter duties were left to Bryan Robinson and the guys at BTE.  The new whip received a BTE Top Dragster transmission and a new 10” torque converter that they’ve been working on.  I plumbed the car exclusively with Earl’s ANO-Tuff black fittings and hose, which turned out really slick.

dragster transmission

I mentioned in my last column that the boys at Huntsville Engine and Performance were building me a new engine with the latest cylinder head technology from BRODIX: the heralded SR20.  Unfortunately, on my truncated time table we couldn’t make that happen for the trip out west.  HEPC also assembled a new 582 for my Corvette, utilizing the BRODIX Head Hunter cylinder heads.  I elected to drop that motor into the dragster, and start the season with the same combination in the Corvette as last year (probably a good call given the time available to work and test!).

The new 582 is a really nice piece: a BRODIX Aluminum block houses a rotating assembly that features Wiseco Pistons.  A Milodon pan and oiling system keeps it lubricated with Lucas Oil 20w/50 Race Only oils.  A Crane Camshaft and lifters control the Jesel Rocker Arms, and a Jesel belt drive keeps it all spinning in unison with the crankshaft.  I had Nitroplate coat the intake manifold, valve covers, and a bunch of accessories in their low-temp black coating, which I think looks really cool.  Nitroplate also coated a set of Hedman Hedders.  An APD 1050 throttle stop carburetor tops off the package, which is fed Renegade 116+ racing fuel from an APD belt-drive pump.  If you haven’t seen APD’s new setup, their latest belt driven pump includes an internal regulator, which makes plumbing clean and simple (just 1 line up to the carburetor, and no return line to the tank is necessary).  Additional components came from JEGS mail order, ISC Racer’s Tape, and Nitrous Express.

huntsville engine

Todd and Chris at Todd’s Extreme Paint once again outdid themselves on the paint work, and believe it or not everything came together in time to light out for the west coast!  I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a huge thank you to all of the above manufacturers, several of whom jumped through hoops and shipped parts next day to meet my deadlines.  I also want to thank Jason Lynch, Jason Oteri, Chuck Broy, and of course my lovely wife Jessica who never complained even though I essentially locked myself in the shop for a few weeks!  I’m sure I’m forgetting some folks who helped big time, but to be honest the whole month of January is a bit of a blur; so if I left you out I’m sorry!

american race cars dragster

Ready to hit the track!

I started the dragster for the first time at about noon on a Wednesday in early February.  By 8:00 that evening, the traveling circus was loaded up, strapped down, and headed west.  By mid-day Thursday I was at Paint Chip Design headquarters near Oklahoma City, where I met Vernon Rowland and Chase Huffman and let them do their thing.  Chase applied new signage to the back door and side doors of the trailer, wrapped both hood scoops in K&N colors, and got all of the appropriate signage and contingency decals on both cars.  The kid (I can say that, I grew up with him and he is a few years younger than I am!) does great work, and it’s fun to watch him stretch, wad, heat, and bend vinyl around to make it all look great.

Chase Huffman

Here’s Chase applying K&N colors to the hoodscoop on my Charlie Stewart Race Cars Corvette.

Luke Bogacki Motorsports

One example of PCD’s awesome work.

Originally I had planned to meet Tommy Phillips for a test session in Dallas over the weekend, but the weather wouldn’t allow it.  I ended up at Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, OK to test on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday was brutally cold and all I managed was a burnout in the new dragster before the rains came, putting a stop to the action.  Sunday was much more pleasant, and I was very pleased with the performance of both cars in limited testing action.  Both whips had under a half-dozen runs on them, but I left for Pomona feeling fairly optimistic.

“Big Block” Shawn Anderson and Tom Dahlberg, who purchased my ’10 dragster met me in Noble, and Shawn and I caravanned out West together.  Much to his surprise, the little F350 that could once again made the long journey unscathed.  She doesn’t like mountains and at over 300,000 miles she’s definitely got her quirks, but she’s paid for; and in my world that’s worth a lot!

We left Noble late Sunday night, and arrived in Pomona late Tuesday night.  I’m trying to think of something good to say about my experience at the NHRA Winternationals…  The cars looked good!  I had a pretty good pit spot!  Outside of that, I wasted Renegade Racing Fuel and scuffed a couple sets of Mickey Thompson slicks.  I made a pretty good run in round 2 of Super Gas (.011, take .004), only to be denied by Pete Bothe’s .005, 9.88.  In Super Comp, I made a terrible run in the opening round, which allowed me plenty of time to pack up and drop my rig in Phoenix to catch my flight home early Monday morning.

ThisIsBracketRacing.com Luke Bogacki Motorsports

Even if I’m not successful on the track, at least I try to look good doing it!

race car pit cart

The updated LBM Pit Cart, featuring TIBR, APD, AirTek and K&N product displays.

My flight from Phoenix to St. Louis was early, but not particularly exciting.  The flight from St. Louis to Marion had a little more panache!  St. Louis is only about 125 miles from home, but there is a regional airport in Marion, about 5 miles from my driveway.  And there is a small airline, Cape Air, that flies a little puddle jumper back and forth a few times a day for $50.  By the time I drive to St. Louis and park, I can’t touch the price or the convenience, so I’m a frequent Cape Air flyer.  The little plane seats 8.  On this particular flight, they sold 9 seats.  Somehow I got volunteered to ride co-pilot! 

I sit down and the pilot says, “You might be too tall to ride up here.  How tall are you?”

“Six foot.”

“Ah well, somebody has to ride up here.  It’s gonna be tight, just try not to touch anything.”

Roger that.

It was a little nerve wracking, but overall a pretty cool experience.  Since you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve concluded that we arrived home in one piece (I didn’t touch anything).

airplane cockpit luke bogacki

My view for the 40 minute flight to Marion.

I got to spend a few precious days with my beautiful (and increasingly pregnant) wife before flying back to Phoenix for the Arizona Nationals.  As the week progressed, the threat of inclement weather in the Midwest became more and more imminent; and suddenly it looked as though my plan to fly home for a couple days was very flawed.  Luckily, I was able to move my flight from Thursday night to early (5:00 AM) on Thursday morning, which allowed me to beat the storm by a matter of hours (the flight that I was originally on, and every other flight that day was eventually cancelled).  Of course, this required a late Wednesday night drive to St. Louis for my wife and I; I got a room near the airport since Cape Air doesn’t fly that late or that early.

At any rate, I made it to Phoenix feeling pretty good about avoiding the ice storm and enjoying some beautiful Arizona weather.  I got a cab back to my rig, which I had left in a secure trucking lot about 20 miles from the track.  When I arrived, my truck wouldn’t start, and I ran the battery down trying to get it running.  No big deal, I’ll just fire up the generator and hook up a battery charger.  Except the trailer battery is dead.  In order to simply get to the race track, I managed to get a spare race car battery out of the trailer (no easy task the way everything is loaded), to start the generator.  Then I was able to plug in a battery charger and eventually get the truck running.  First class operation folks…  First class.

Once I get to the track I’m parked in a dirt lot that they tell me is part of the Firebird International Raceway facility, although I see no signs of a race track anywhere near my pit area.  To put icing on the cake, I wake up Friday morning with a wicked cold (I guess the change from 20 degrees to 80 degrees and back wreaked havoc on my system).

At this point, I’m thinking I’m really not supposed to be in Phoenix.  Every sign for the last few days was telling me I should be at home.  My flight was cancelled.  The truck wouldn’t start.  The generator wouldn’t start.  I’m sick, and I left my pregnant wife at home to deal with ice and snow.  Somehow, I defied all the odds and ignored all the signs, and I’m here in Phoenix.  At that point, I was thinking that I’d either get run over on my first time trial or get the call that Jessica was in labor and I was going to miss the birth of our first child.

Luckily (amazingly), things got better from there!  On the track, however, I had another less-than-stellar performance.  Scott Taylor crushed me in the opening round of Super Comp (yep, the dragster is winless at this point).  In Super Gas, I managed to advance through the opening 3 rounds without crossing the finish line first once, then made a terrible run to get busted in round 4 on Sunday afternoon.

Luke Bogacki Super Gas Corvette

The ‘vette was getting a little air in Phoenix!

The quote of the weekend came from Dan Fletcher.  On Sunday afternoon (after we’d both been beaten), I took Dan to the airport.  Along the way, I was telling the tale that I just described, and explaining how lucky I felt to even make it out of Illinois to be able to race the weekend.  When I got done, Dan’s response was:

“And in retrospect?”

Yep, maybe I should’ve stayed with the flight that got cancelled!

That week I stayed out west, and was able to move out of the dust bowl and into a much better parking spot for the double divisional event the following weekend.  On Tuesday, my good friend Marc Erickson from Auto Meter and Dedenbear flew into town and we installed a new prototype Dedenbear throttle stop on both cars.  This thing will hit the market sometime this year, and without getting too detailed let me just say that it’s pretty trick!  It’s an electric, plenum-style stop (under the carb, with butterflies), but the mechanical setting is controlled through the delay box: you can change the stop stall from the cockpit!  The unit allows you to change throttle position up to 8 times each run, and you can control the opening and closing speed of the stop for each change; all without the hassle of C02.  Like I said, it’s pretty trick.  We tested with it Wednesday, and although it still has some kinks to work out, I was impressed.  Since it’s still in the prototype stages and was awaiting approval from NHRA at the time, we had to pull it back off before the divisional action started on Thursday.

Once again, my racing weekend in Phoenix was forgettable.  In the first event, I gave back the finish line .002 in Super Gas; but it was a good race and I would have had to take .006 to win.  In Super Comp, the new whip and I finally saw our first win light, and for a while it looked like we might be able to take it all the way to victory.  On the strength of some decent driving and a lot of good fortune, I advanced all the way to the final round in Super Comp.  There, the throttle stop linkage fell apart in the burnout, relegating me to 30% throttle for the run, and 0% chance of victory.  Absolutely awesome!

Seriously, I spend hours upon hours going over seemingly every little detail of the whole operation; and spend a ton of money to purchase nothing but the best stuff.  And yet, a $1 part that I overlooked and didn’t assemble with Loctite fails at the most inopportune time.  I’m not sure if I could’ve beat Eldon Lacer in that final round, but I sure would’ve liked to have had the opportunity!  Frustrating to be certain, but we all know that’s part of this crazy game we play!

Luke Bogacki Super Comp Dragster

The second divisional of the weekend once again fell under the heading of wasting perfectly good pit space, Renegade Racing Fuels, and Mickey Thompson Tires.  Once again, I gave back the stripe by .002 in the opening round of Super Gas, only this time I needed to take .002 to win.  In Super Comp, the car that had carried me in the first race decided to pick up a smooth .1 (not .01, .1) in the opening round of competition.  That didn’t work out for me.  Upon downloading all of the runs for the weekend, I learned that I had major issues on the stop.  How it made so many runs that made sense I don’t really know; what I do know is that major changes were necessary before my next event.

I got the circus folded up and hit the road Sunday afternoon for a fairly short trip to Las Vegas.  There, I dropped the rig off at the Lamb household (thank you Chris, Carole, Justin, Jeanine, and Ryen!), and caught a flight back home.

This was an extended trip home, as the western tour provided three “off” weekends.  My time was spent honing my carpentry skills, finishing up a nursery for Baby Bogacki.  I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t really know what I was getting into, and it’s not perfect by any means, but I was pretty proud of the end result.

baby nursery

The only thing missing now is Baby Bogacki!

Meanwhile, I hired out the garage renovation project, and a local construction crew got to work on the addition.

In my last column, I announced that K&N Engineering came onboard to join our fantastic group of Associate Marketing Partners in 2013 and beyond.  In the time since, we also added another great company to our team of Associate Partners: Product Development Group.  PDG is the maker of Flo-Fast pump systems and AirTek pressure monitors.  A lot of you are probably familiar with Flo-Fast; they’ve been making quality pumps for fuel and various fluids for years.  I’ve used their drum pumps for as long as I can remember: they’re convenient, safe, durable, and FAST!  Their pumps can pump or draw 8 gallons per minute, which is way faster than the plastic hand pumps, and they’re reversible!  Flo-Fast also offers complete pumping systems (jug, pump, and cart) for convenient use at the track.

flo-fast fuel jug

The AirTek name is newer to our industry, but they’ve developed a great precision tire gauge for drag race competition.  Their setup has patented self-locking technology that makes the tire, valve stem, and gauge a closed loop (no more getting the chuck cockeyed and losing air or getting a false reading).  The digital gauge provides accurate readings to the .01 lb., and AirTek’s patented trigger grip allows us to read, bleed, and add air with one hand.  It’s very slick; and it’s more accurate than any gauge on the market today.  I know that .01’s of a pound of air pressure seems like splitting hairs, but so are .001’s of a second; and those are generally what makes and breaks our weekends.  In my opinion, the AirTek gauge is a must-have.


As part of our agreement, Luke Bogacki Motorsports is a stocking distributor for both the Flo-Fast and AirTek lines.  We’ve got a fairly extensive inventory of both lines on the trailer.  If you’re interested or have any questions about either product line, stop by the trailer, give me a call or shoot me an e-mail.  For additional information, check them out online at: http://flofast.com/ and http://www.airtekpc.com/index.html.

AirTek and Flo-Fast join K&N, along with our lineup of returning Associate Partners in 2013: Tinsley Drilling and Company, C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, Advanced Product Design (we also stock APD carburetors, fuel pumps, and more on the trailer), JEGS, Bill Taylor Enterprises (BTE), and Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels.  These fine companies make racing at this level possible for me.  Without them, I’d like to think that my passion for the sport would have me involved on some level, but that would almost certainly be confined to I57 Dragstrip on Saturday nights with my Vega.  Seriously, I encourage each of you to do business with our sponsors when the opportunity presents itself.  They’re all fine companies that we’re proud to be associated with, and if you have any questions about their products or services, don’t hesitate to contact me; I’ll be happy to assist you.

During my 3 week “off” period, I did manage to sneak away with the Vega to Memphis for the $25K Showdowns presented by the Cummings and Folk families.  I had a good time and went some rounds but fell short of the big money.  My best effort was a semi-final finish in the American Race Cars dragster shootout, where I lost to eventual winner Gary Williams.

I mentioned that the dragster needed some serious attention before the divisional event in Las Vegas.  When I flew back, the Lamb’s had a room full of boxes that I had shipped in (literally).  Before I hit the track, the digger had a different suspension setup, new wheels, new tires, a new throttle stop, a different carburetor tune-up, and a new torque converter.  Hey, if I just changed one thing at a time, I might actually know what adjustment had an effect.  What would be the fun in that?

For good measure, I swapped converters in the Corvette as well.

At the division event in Las Vegas, I was actually pretty pleased with the results from all the changes to the dragster.  I still saw some room for improvement, but it was very competitive.  I definitely had a car capable of winning, but the driver fell out of the seat in round 4.  The Corvette, on the other hand, obviously did not agree with the new torque converter.  It showed signs of life early, but once we got to hot-lapping it was, in a word, terrible.  In the quarterfinal round, as an example, I set up to run 10.02 (10.05 Super Gas index in Las Vegas)…  I was on a 9.91.  Luckily, my opponent was late and I did a decent job (you can imagine my surprise when I picked up the slip to see that we were both dead-on 10.05; I took .024 thinking I had killed enough to run about 10.15). 

From third round on, it really wasn’t much better.  I drove pretty well, but I don’t care if you’re Peter Biondo or Gary Williams: you’re not supposed to win in something like that.  It just fell into place for me, and I managed to pick up my first win of the season in Super Gas.  Just to prove that I’m not exaggerating the car’s inconsistency, I got done with contingency and winner’s circle at about 12:30 Sunday morning (the race was run on Saturday because Sunday was Easter).  My flight left Las Vegas at 6:00 Sunday morning.  In between, I again changed the converter in the Corvette and loaded everything back up at about 4:00 in the morning.  I showered, and drove to the airport.  And I made it home to enjoy Easter dinner with the family, without the aid of sleep!

After a few precious days at home, I made my way to the Marion Airport on Thursday afternoon.  Jess had scheduled a doctor’s appointment that afternoon (one of just a few that I had to miss along our pregnancy journey).  I was in line for security at the airport when I got her call.  She said her blood pressure was high and they were admitting her to the hospital.  Oh boy!

I quickly tried to assess the situation and decide what to do (the flight was leaving for St. Louis in 15 minutes).  I did a quick search on my phone about blood pressure and pregnancy and read the basics of a condition called preeclampsia.  It didn’t sound good.  I turned around, handed back my boarding pass at the ticket counter and drove to the hospital.

The stay wasn’t anything life threatening for Jessica or the baby, but it was a bit of a wakeup call, as the pregnancy had been very smooth up until that point.  On Friday night, Jess was released but with instructions for modified bed rest until the baby came.  Our due date was still over a month away, but the doctor said that they would induce in two weeks if she made it that long.

Meanwhile, my rig was sitting idle at Las Vegas Motor Speedway  during the national event at the Strip.  Obviously at this point I wasn’t about to leave home for a few days to drive it all back, and I certainly cancelled my plans to compete at the Spring Fling Vegas event the next weekend (which was a shame in a way, because I had really been looking forward to that one).  To the rescue came my good friend Jeremy Jensen.

I offered Jeremy a deal to fly him out to Vegas and pay his entry fees to race both of my cars at the ‘Fling.  Pretty sweet deal, huh?  The only catch: you gotta drive my junk 2,000 miles home when you’re done. 

Fortunately for me, I’ve got some really great friends, and Jeremy is one of them.  Within a few hours we were booking flights and working out details.  Jeremy made the trek out west and he made it pay off when he drove the ‘vette to a $10,000 win on Friday night!

Jeremy Jensen Spring Fling Vegas Race

How about this CSRC Corvette?  In over a year of ownership, I never made a wide open run in the car (still haven’t), I just never had the opportunity to race it in anything but Super Gas.  Jeremy made the first wide open run at the ‘Fling and drove it all the way to victory!  That’s a testament not only to his talents, but also to the craftsmanship of Charlie Stewart and his team at CSRC.  A lot of “Super Gas” cars can’t even get down the track without the aid of a throttle stop, Charlie’s design is the exception to the rule.

Talk about a great deal!  With the time change and everything else weighing on me, I went to bed as Jeremy was going into round two; and I shut my ringer off because we hadn’t been getting much sleep.  I awoke the next morning to a handful of winner circle pictures and one of the most entertaining voice messages I’ve ever received.  Way to go Jeremy Jay Jensen!

The Corvette broke a lifter the next day and Jeremy didn’t have much luck in the dragster, but he made the trip payoff both for him and for me.  Meanwhile, I managed to sneak out of the house Saturday night and take the Vega to I57, but I got smacked around pretty good.  As usual, I entered it in all 3 classes, but I was done fairly early.  I turned it -.003 red in 3rd round of Pro, broke out by .001 (hogging up .016 at the stripe) in round 3 of Super Pro, and posted a nice conservative .040 reaction time to get smacked around in round 4 of Footbrake.

Jeremy made it almost all the way home in one piece…  As he made the exit for his shop in Tennessee, the brakes went out on the truck.  Luckily the exit was uphill, and he managed to down shift and get it whoa’d up without hitting anything.  The culprit was an emergency brake mount that had broken and knocked the right rear caliper loose, pulling off the brake line.  Jeremy unhooked in a nearby truck stop, and was able to limp the truck back to his shop and return later that evening for the trailer.  Obviously Jeremy has never read “On the Road,” or he never would’ve attempted this trip.  It took 1800 miles, but my typical experience showed through! 

As if I hadn’t put Jeremy through enough, and he hadn’t helped out enough, he volunteered to yank the motor out of the Corvette to get it back to Huntsville Engine before he brought everything back to Illinois (he was headed that direction for Brad and Katie Plourd’s wedding the next weekend).  Thanks again JJJ!

race car shop

That’s the Corvette in Jeremy’s shop.  And that’s my dually on the lift behind it…  Jeremy’s caption summed it up: “What a weekend.”

Meanwhile, Jessica made it through to that Friday, April 19, when the doctors were set to induce labor.  They started her on some medication that night, but progress was slow throughout the night and into Saturday.  Finally, they broke her water around noon on Sunday, the 21st.  Several hours later, Gary Alan Bogacki made his appearance!

Luke and Gary Bogacki

It’s a boy!!

Witnessing the birth of our child was the most amazing experience of my life to date.  It’s a miracle, it’s incredible, it’s awesome.  It was everything anyone said it would be and more.  I was so proud of my wife; she’s so strong and so tough, and she did great!  We had kept the gender a surprise, thinking it would just add to the excitement of delivery.  But to be honest, I was so amazed by the whole process that I completely forgot that we didn’t know the gender!  It was 5 or 10 seconds after delivery before my sister-in-law asked the doctor:

“Well…  Is it a boy or a girl?”

The doc immediately flipped him over and told us we had a beautiful baby boy.  We named him Gary, after my father.  Those of you who knew my Dad know that the name is a lot to live up to, but I’m confident that Little G will carry on the family name with pride.

The next 12 hours didn’t go nearly as smoothly for Jess; she was given magnesium (like a top fuel body?) for her blood pressure (which is like an instant shot of the flu), and developed a pinched nerve in her wrist that had her in more pain than delivery.  That wasn’t fun, and at times was scary, but that didn’t last long and it didn’t dim my enthusiasm a bit.  I’m a dad!

As any of you parents can attest to, the thoughts that came to mind in the next week can be pretty overwhelming.  I can’t say that I’m where I’ll always be in life, but I think I’m pretty set in my ways and comfortable with my skills (and in many areas, lack of skills), relationships, and general place in the world.  All of that is at Gary’s fingertips; his world is an open book.  I think what I find the most exciting and at the same time intimidating is the responsibility that we have as parents to first stimulate our little guy in ways that allow him to find his passions, and then to provide the support, education, and resources to help him pursue those passions.  Looking back, that’s probably the best thing that my parents did for me.  I was exposed to all kinds of neat stuff growing up: racing, sports, theater, friends from various backgrounds with various interests, music, academic competition, travel, and much more.  Obviously, my passion ended up in the racing arena; and my parents supported me every step of the way.  They would have done the same if I wanted to play piano, or study physics.

Gary Bogacki

He’s got a ways to go, but I think he’ll grow into it!

I find myself telling Gary seemingly every day, “Mommy and Daddy are learning, be patient with us; we’ve got your best interests at heart.”  I have a feeling that sentiment will be pretty consistent for the rest of my life. 

A few days after birth, Gary and Jessica were released to come home.  It’s been a fun time, and we’ve gotten incredible support from family and friends in the two weeks since our family grew. 

Luke and Jessica Bogacki Racing Family

A week after his birth I was fortunate to get out of the house and make my first race as a Daddy; I took the Vega to Sikeston Dragstrip for a bracket race.  In what has become a recurring theme, I made some really nice runs only to be turned away.  In Super Pro, I got down to 5 cars before my opponent put down a .008 package beside me.  The worst part was that I probably should have won: I was .002 and gave the stripe back a few thousandths.  In Footbrake, I was actually driving great (for me).  After a .030 light in round 1, I was .012 four runs out of five, and .013 on the other.  In the final round, I missed it just a bit with a normally competitive .022.  As it turned out, I didn’t have a light all day that would have been competitive in the final…  My opponent was .008, dead-on with a 1.  So I settled for runner-up.  My father-in-law made the trip with me, and he wanted to give me a hard time about not winning.  Hey, if my opponents keep laying down .00x packages, I’m probably going to keep getting beat!

That’s a wrap for this edition of “On the Road.”  I just finished installing the new SR20 motor in the dragster, and put that 582 that I described earlier into the Corvette.  I’ll spend the next couple of weeks testing those combinations before I head to the Division 2 event in Atlanta.  In June I intend to make a stop at the Ultimate 64 Shootout and maybe the C.A.R.S. Mini-Million in Montgomery before resuming the NHRA tour with a division 5 event in Cordova, then national events in Chicago and Norwalk.

We’re just finishing up the details for the 3rd annual JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout; which will take place July 19-21 at I-57 Dragstrip in Benton, IL.  We’ll have the final flyer done, printed, and all over the internet in the next week or two.

jegs summer door car shootout race flyer

Earlier I also mentioned a trade show.  Dave Szerlag and I have embarked on a joint venture that we’re calling the Motor City Hot Rod Expo.  It will be a trade show open to the public, where racers and hot rod enthusiasts like you and I can deal directly with manufacturers and exhibitors at the show.  It will take place March 22-23, 2014 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI.  Dave and I have a lot of ideas to make the show a “can’t miss.”  We’ll be announcing more details throughout the season, so stay tuned for more information.

motor city expo

Until next time, thanks again for reading.  Good luck on the track, and please support the companies that support our team and our sport in general.  Have fun, and I’ll see you “On the road!”

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