Article Date: 11/7/2010
Bogacki's Championship Fate Rests In The Hands Of Others
Luke Bogacki’s 2010 NHRA Super Comp season is over, and the noted sportsman competitor has left his mark on the 8.90 category in his first pursuit of the NHRA Lucas Oil points series. Bogacki picked up three Lucas Oil Divisional victories, plus a runner-up and semi-final finish for a massive divisional total of 482 points. That total has already earned him the title of Division 2 Super Comp Champion. His national events were less than stellar, as a pair of third round losses along with a second round defeat leave his national points total at 622.
After capping his points earning season last weekend at the Division 4 LODRS event in Noble, OK Bogacki is the leader in the clubhouse, so to speak. His 622 point total matched season-long points leader Ray Miller III atop the NHRA Lucas Oil National Standings but Bogacki holds the tiebreaker advantage. With a full points ledger and just two races remaining on the NHRA tour, Bogacki now must sit back and await the results as four competitors have an opportunity to exceed his points total for the NHRA Lucas Oil National Championship.
Former national champions Gary Stinnett and Edmond Richardson have the best opportunity to surpass Bogacki for the lead. Stinnett has one divisional event remaining on his points ledger, and he would have to win the fifth round at the Las Vegas LODRS event to best Bogacki. Richardson can earn points both at Las Vegas and the season-ending NHRA Finals in Pomona. Richardson would eclipse Bogacki’s mark with a win in Pomona, or a combination of late round finishes at the two events. Kevin Wright could also leapfrog Bogacki with an 8 round victory in Las Vegas or a combination of late round performances at the two events. The only other competitor with a mathematical shot at the title is Division 7 standout Robert Naber, who would need to hoist the trophy at both Las Vegas and Pomona to best Bogacki’s score.
“It’s been a wild season, and we’ve had a lot of fun.” said Bogacki. “Like anyone, I can look back now at a couple rounds in particular and say ‘What if,’ but overall I’m pleased with our performance. Historically, 622 points isn’t enough to win the championship, but you never know. It’s out of my hands at this point. Gary and Edmond are champions, so we all know they’re capable of doing what they have to do to win the title. I don’t know Mr. Wright or Mr. Naber personally, but they’re both enjoying excellent seasons, and you can’t count them out. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it; we’ve had a good year. I’d love to win the championship, but if I wake up November 15 as the national champion it doesn’t make me any better racer than I am today. If I wake up as the 2nd or 3rd, or 4th place finisher it doesn’t make me any worse. It is what it is.”
Just to be in this position took a clutch performance from Bogacki at his second to last divisional event, two weeks ago in Reynolds, GA. Bogacki entered the event in third position in national points, 65 points back of Miller. The only scenario in which Bogacki could have taken the lead was for Miller to lose first or second round, and Bogacki to win one of his two remaining events. The scenario played out in Reynolds, as Miller fell victim to the red light in round one and Bogacki drove to the unlikely victory.
“Reynolds was awesome,” said Bogacki. “I came into the race feeling like I had nothing to lose: the divisional title was basically wrapped up, and I knew I was a long shot for the national championship. When Ray went down, I knew there was a chance, but I was still pretty care free. That was fine and well until about the quarterfinals. That’s when the gravity of the situation really started to weigh on me; when I knew I had a chance to do something special. I’ve never been so excited to see a win light as I was in the final, knowing what was at stake. Whether my total holds up or not, no one will ever be able to take that moment away from me.”
Bogacki was solid throughout eliminations in Reynolds. With the stakes high, he posted reaction times that varied just .006; from .013 to .019 for the first five rounds of eliminations. He saved his best reaction, .009, for the final round. In the quarterfinal round he knocked out fellow title contender Edmond Richardson in a double breakout affair that could prove to be a pivotal round in the championship chase.
In addition to his Super Comp success, Bogacki also had a very strong season in Stock Eliminator behind the wheel of his friend Bryan Robinson’s 1969 Nova. While he never graced the winner circle, Bogacki posted three LODRS runner-up finishes in stock, along with two quarterfinals and a semi-final finish in national event competition. Like in Super Comp, he is out of points earning opportunities. He currently leads the Division 2 standings in Stock coming into the last event in Las Vegas, and will likely finish in the top ten nationally with a total of 560 points.
“We had a frustrating season in Stock,” admitted Bogacki. “We had some success but we never broke through for a victory. Plus, the last two or three months we really struggled with the car, we just couldn’t get a handle on it. We were in a decent position to make a run at the championship in Stock as well, we just kept fighting one little gremlin after another. Unfortunately, that got the best of us.”
Bogacki will not be heading west to block would-be contenders in Super Comp or Stock. Instead, he’ll be attending the annual Winter Series bracket events in Florida this month, a series of bracket races he’s been a fixture at for the last decade. Bogacki earned his reputation as a standout competitor in the big dollar bracket arena prior to this season, and has continued to enjoy success in that venue when his 2010 schedule has allowed. In addition to his NHRA success this season, he picked up a $10,000 victory and was runner-up in the $50,000-to-win main event at the Ultimate 64 Shootout. He also earned a $10,000 win at the Tenn-Tuck Series in Bowling Green, KY and won both Super Pro and No Box ($5,000 each) at a Southern Survival Series event in Nashville, TN last month.
“I’m going to Florida for the winter series, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The points will fall how they may, it’s out of my control at this point. I won’t be making the trip (to Vegas or Pomona), but I’ll be a very interested observer. I’m sure I’ll wear out the “refresh” button on DragRaceCentral!”
Bogacki thanked his girlfriend Jessica for her unwavering support, and also thanked her family for all their help. In addition, he credited a long list of marketing partners for their role in his continued success. Those partners include ThisIsBracketRacing.com, Bogacki’s online drag racing school, as well as Bill Taylor Enterprises, American Race Cars, Huntsville Engine & Performance, JEGS, Mickey Thompson Tires and K&N Filters. Additional support comes from Todd’s Extreme Paint, Milodon, Hedman Hedders, Nitrous Express, Nitroplate, K&R Performance Engineering, Auto Meter, Advanced Product Design, Moser Engineering, Goza Racing Products, ISC Racers Tape, Sparco, J&J Engine Diapers, Frankenstein Racing Heads, Rockett Brand Race Fuels, DragRaceResults.com, Ohlins Shocks, Dixie Racing Products, B&M, Figspeed.com, Sunset Racecraft, PimpMyCrew.com, and BRODIX Cylinder Heads.