5-06 "On The Road" with Luke Bogacki
Okay, I made a promise to myself to try and update this column more often this season for a couple reasons. 1.) I like to write it, it’s actually kinda fun. 2.) People tell me they actually like to read it, which is awesome, and 3.) the less time that passes between columns, the shorter they are--which is good for everyone, because I tend to get a little longwinded. I’d be lying if I told you I had a schedule for typing these up, but my buddy RacinChic got on me last week in Farmington because she hasn’t seen one in awhile, so here it goes!
I know that as painful as it can be to write and relive, these columns are a whole lot more fun to read when you can point your finger at the computer screen and laugh hysterically at the idiot living the story. And I’ll be the first to admit, my misfortunes tend to be fairly comical, at least to others. But for this month, I’ve got to apologize, things have actually been pretty good. Sure, there have been some nim-witted moves on my part, but if you’ve read at all in the past you realize that’s just par for the course.
Last column, I finished up with a mind-boggling runner-up at the Tenn-Tuck event in Bowling Green, despite driving like an idiot and constantly having mechanical trouble. To be completely honest, I didn’t feel like looking at my dragster the following weekend, and loaded up my good, old fashioned duallie and open trailer to head out to Middle Tennessee Dragway in Buffalo Valley for two Five-Granders. On Saturday, the Mickey Thompson Vega made me proud in Super Pro (although the driver was less-than-stellar in a “One-a-Two-a, I’m-a through-a” performance in Footbrake). The Vega-matic, the Las Vega, the Vega-hater reeled off a string of runs within .005 all day long, and took me into the semi-finals. There, I’m .005, and dead-on with a 4...which puts me .003 behind and pouting miserably because I thought the Vega was actually gonna get herself a big one.
In retrospect, what was I thinking? I was at a race with John Labbous, Jr.... In 2006... I was wasting fuel! Little Caboose picked up what seemed like his 10th win of the season (although he tells me I’m exaggerating), driving a fast little Mopar for a guy they call Turkey. I don’t know Turkey too well, but he bought dinner, so he’s a cool cucumber in my book.
Sunday, the Super Pro wars didn’t fair so well for me, but I actually picked up my first ‘W’ of 2006 in Footbrake--although I have to admit my win was completely by default. The ONLY race that I had all day was first round, and that guy kicked the snot out of me. Second round through fourth round, the best lamp beside me was .605, which led to a 5th round red-light, which gave me the bye into the final, where my opponent broke an axle. I kicked their butts!
The following weekend I took a chance to regroup with the American Race Cars Dragster, carrying it and the little Vega that could to Huntsville for a regular weekend bracket race. There, I think I set a record. I lost four rounds on the day by a grand total of a little over .003. Yep, 4 rounds...3 thousandths! First round in the Dragster, I’m -.001. Second round in Footbrake, I’m -.001. Fifth Round in Pro...-.0004 or something like that--it was a whole bunch of zeros, I don’t remember the kicker. Then, sixth round in the Vega I give up the stripe by .001...You’ve gotta love it.
When I turned it Red first round of Footbrake at Fulton on Sunday I didn’t have to get the time ticket to know that it was .499. Following a buyback, I wheeled the Vega into the fourth round in both classes before I found the only thing that could stop a Mickey Thompson Racing Slick--A Nail! That was pretty much the end of that excursion!
The second weekend of April had me trying to play meteorologist. Friday night brought opening night at my home track, Sand Mountain Dragway. It also brought a bunch of severe weather including hail, tornadoes, and whatever else doesn’t make for good racing. So it got canned. For the weekend, Brainderd Optimist had two-$5-granders on the schedule, but the forecast looked so bad I thought there was no way it would happen (turns out I was dead wrong), and I headed West Saturday morning in search of the sun.
I found it in West Mississippi, and ended up at Byhalia Dragway for the PTC Converter Shootout. That’s a pretty neat deal, because they guarantee a pretty decent purse in Pro and Footbrake, plus each winner gets a new torque converter. I couldn’t have planned it better, as I got to go home with two new torque converters! I can’t say a whole lot about the day--the Vega ran something like twelve 5.97’s in a row (600 ft. track--calm down!), and I pretty much wrecked the tree most of the night. I didn’t lose a round at Byhalia, and with my perfect record intact, I think I’ll retire from the facility and call it a career. Tracks attended: 78...tracks undefeated: 3. Sweet!
I followed my buddy Bryan Robinson home from Byhalia, where he and his wife Cassie (and their dog Abby) were gracious enough to let me stay the night before attending the second leg of the Mississippi tour, for another PTC Shootout at Fulton. Fulton wasn’t as kind as Byhalia, as I got whacked in round 3 of Pro, and Landon Ritchie knocked me out of Footbrake in the semi’s. And, in another shocking event, I went to a race at Fulton that Lucas Bendall didn’t win--but my boy Bryan did appear in the final despite blowing the tires off of his little Nova (a-la Kenny Bernstein) not once, but twice in the late rounds!
Easter weekend brought me to Clay City, KY not so much because they had a great race, although they didn’t have a bad race. The fact of the matter is that I don’t know my college basketball as well as I think, and I lost a bet with Beth--meaning that I had to make the trek northward at some point...which I just happened to schedule around a drag race (shocking, I know). Friday night I was rolling along looking like the man in No Box before I forgot to let go of the brake pedal in the semi’s. I’m not going to print my reaction time, just use your imagination--it’s embarrassing.
Saturday wasn’t any better... In fact, with the exception of getting off the starting line in a timely manner, it was a lot worse, as I didn’t advance past the fourth round in either class. But, I had a good time in the KY, and I got to enjoy Easter Dinner (at lunch time--I didn’t jive with the terminology) with the Atkinson family. I even got to whip up on Beth in a little game of H-O-R-S-E in the driveway. She might have a different story on the outcome of that match-up, but don’t listen to her. This stuff I’m making up is TRUE!
The American Race Cars Dragster got put back into action for the first time in a few weeks at the Capitol City Nationals in Montgomery the following weekend, and it came through yet again. I managed to get all the way to the final in Saturday’s $10,000 event before I geeked and screwed up the finish line knowing full and well I was going dead-on. Don’t get me wrong, my final round opponent Mark White laid down a great lap (.009, dead-on 7), but I was .006, and I’m pretty sure I was going high dead-on for the win before my foot got to twitching and I got .006 behind. But I got a lot of confidence out of the deal--my car was awesome, and I hit the tree great, so maybe that’s a sign of things to come.
Meanwhile, I got to nine cars in Footbrake before the Vega tried to take out the Christmas Tree (good thing it didn’t make that lap at one of my narrower tracks, ie. Sand Mountain, Fulton, etc.). I investigated that situation Sunday morning only to find the jam nuts on the top right four-link bar completely backed off...nothing like a good maintenance program!
On Sunday I was rolling with both cars for awhile, before I goofed up the finish line again with 12 cars left in the Dragster. Shortly thereafter, with 8 cars remaining in Footbrake, I make a respectable lap--.030-something and dead-on... And get about .030 in change from Chad Brewers .011 package. This is sounding a little repetitive.
After a good showing in Montgomery, I was looking forward to the DragRaceResults.com Series event in Clay City the following weekend. Was, that is, until I got a call from my good buddy “Racin” Jason Lynch. J-Bob decided to head to the “Farm”, Farmington Dragway, for their $50-grander, and he had an open slot in the trailer. Without much hesitation, I was all-in, and we were headed East.
Now, as some of you faithful readers will recall, the “Farm” was pretty much the turning point of the 2005 season. I rolled in there with a little momentum, and left with a blown up hoodscoop, a broken flywheel, a huge tab, and a broken spirit that resulted in two “For Sale” signs and eventually put me out of the dragster business for much of the season. Surely, this season would be better...
I’d like to have a great report on my exploits at the “Farm,” but I don’t. The only day I got anything going was in the 50, but I was -.001 with 30 cars remaining. Gary Williams doubled my car, and was still in at 30 as well, only to be .001 under (taking .002). So much for the chips falling our way. In my own defense... I did check the hell outta the tires in Jason’s car, and was pit-dude extraordinaire. I’m sure I was an instrumental part of his $50,000 triumph.. Just ask me, I’ll tell you!
My man Lynch-Bob drove through ‘em like a barn door and parked his machine in victory lane. I’ve never won a big one, and up until then Jason hadn’t either, so we partied like it was 2006 (okay, so he was in bed by midnight). I thought JJ was going to pull off another one on Sunday, but he too fell victim of the -.001 with seven cars remaining.
So that’s it for April. For all of you ambulance chasers, I’m sorry to say that things actually went pretty well! Who knows where I’m headed next--if you haven’t noticed it’s a kind of spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. Maybe I’ll see you down the road somewhere. If you see me on the side of the road somewhere, pull over--I might need some help! Until next time, see ya’ll at the track!
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask each of you readers to support the companies that make my racing possible. How about Goza Racing Products and Brodix Cylinder Heads-- Darrell Goza and Jeff Brotherton went out of their way to help out a 17-year-old kid when no one else would, and have been a part of the Bogacki Motorsports team for the past 8 seasons. Mickey Thompson Tires and BTE have been with us forever, along with Hedman Hedders; each of whom manufacturer quality equipment that I depend on week after week. More recently, I want to give some credit to John Kyle and Jerry Dooley at APD, and Mark Horton and Travis Colangelo at American Race Cars, as they’ve been instrumental in turning my program back around--I feel like I’m as competitive right now as I’ve been in several years. Also, thanks to M2 Race Systems, K&R Performance Engineering, JW Performance, DragRaceResults.com, Rockett Brand Race Fuels, Auto Meter, Milodon, Nitroplate, TD Performance Products, and Huntsville Engine & Performance. Thanks for reading!