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Article Date: 3/13/2009
Bogacki Picks Up IHRA Mardi Gras Nationals Quick Rod Win
Baton Rouge, LA: 2008 IHRA Sportsman Driver of the Year Luke Bogacki kicked off his 2009 campaign in style, winning the Quick Rod category at last weekend’s IHRA Nitro Jam opener, the IHRA Mardi Gras Nationals at State Capital Dragway in Baton Rouge, LA. Bogacki was at the wheel of his ThisIsBracketRacing.com sponsored American Dragster, the same car that he drove to a Northern Nationals Quick Rod victory and fourth place national finish in 2008. The win marked Bogacki’s sixth IHRA national event victory, and fifth in the last calendar year.
"It was a really good weekend, what can I say?" Expressed Bogacki. "My car was flawless, and I felt like my driving was pretty solid for the most part. Throw in a lucky break or two along the way, and we were fortunate enough to hoist the iron man in the end!"
Bogacki used a string of stellar reaction times and close ET’s throughout eliminations. Disregarding his semi-final competition bye run, his reaction times varied only from .015 to .003, with a strong .006 in the final round that became unnecessary when opponent Robert Cool fouled with a -.005 red light.
Bogacki’s machine is sponsored by ThisIsBracketRacing.com, an instructional website aimed at sportsman racing and racers. While the website is accessible to everyone, the main features are included in a subscription-only online driving school of sorts, of which, Bogacki is the head instructor. In addition to ThisIsBracketRacing.com, Bogacki was quick to acknowledge chassis builder American Race Cars, engine builder Huntsville Engine & Performance, the transmission and torque converter specialists at Bill Taylor Enterprises, Mickey Thompson Tires, and JEGS for having a hand in the winning combination. Bogacki’s marketing partners also include Brodix Cylinder Heads, CSR Performance Products, Milodon, B&M, ISC Racers Tape, K&N Filters, K&R Performance Engineering, Auto Meter, Moser Engineering, Goza Racing Products, Rockett Brand Racing Fuel, AFCO, Hedman Hedders, Advanced Product Design, Nitrous Express, Figspeed.com, DragRaceResults.com, and Nitroplate.
"In addition to my marketing partners, I want to thank Bruce Thrift for letting me drive his Top Dragster car this weekend. I had never been in the 6’s before, and we went 6.71 @ 195 to qualify seventh. That was a lot of fun, and I appreciate the opportunity. I also want to thank my girlfriend, Whitney Wesson for all her help and support; as well as the staff at State Capital Raceway, along with our friends the Cummings family, the Levatino family, the Constantine family, and Gary Williams for cooking out all weekend; there was no chance of going hungry!"
In addition to picking up the national event victory and the prize and contingency money that comes with it, Bogacki also earns a berth in IHRA’s Tournament of Champions. The new program, which was introduced last offseason, is essentially a one-race runoff for the 2009 world championship. Racers earn seeds in the runoff by winning national events, sportsman national events, or placing in the top three in their division standings throughout the season. At this early point in the year, Bogacki joins Immokalee Sportsman Nationals winner Brendan George as the first two seeds in the Quick Rod tournament.
"I still don’t have a stance on the tournament of champions," said Bogacki. "I could make an argument either way, so I’m going to wait to pass judgment for a year and see how it goes. It is what it is, and this is the way the championship will be decided in 2009, and probably beyond, and I’m very excited to know that I’ll be a part of the championship tournament this season."
While Bogacki emphasized the fact that he enjoyed his weekend in Baton Rouge, win or lose, he admits that the weekend had a sour feeling.
"Top Dragster racer Mark Jones, who I’ve known and raced with for a long time, lost his mother on the Friday of the event, and left to be with his family. Then, on Saturday night, Thomas and Matt Levatino’s father had congestive heart failure and was rushed to the hospital. Matt, Thomas, and the rest of the family took off to spend Sunday with him in ICU. The last I heard, Mr. Levatino is going to be fine, which is great news. But our thoughts were definitely with the Jones family all weekend, and we were very concerned for the Levatino’s as well. Things like that make us all step back and put things into perspective a little bit, and we realize that things like winning races isn’t nearly the priority that we all sometimes make it."