Re-establishing order heading into the 2012 NHRA season was the theme when we last spoke with Luke Bogacki. After 2010, in which he earned the NHRA Division 2 Championship in both Super Comp and Stock Eliminator and led the National Super Comp standings late in the season before being overtaken by Gary Stinnett, 2011 in comparison was a letdown.
Bogacki first had his appreciation for Corvettes imprint on his race DNA by his dad, additionally he believes that Super Gas will afford him a better than average shot at winning a championship.
"2011 wasn't one of my better years on the race track," Bogacki admitted flatly. Yet with the close of the season the race gods smiled upon him in the form of a pair of $5,000 wins at Palm Beach International Raceway 5-Day Bracket Championships, teasingly suggesting at the possibilities for a strong 2012 season. "It was a nice shot in the arm and created some much needed momentum going into the offseason," remarked Bogacki at the time.
In preparation for the 2012 NHRA season the K&N sponsored driver recently took delivery of a new Charlie Stewart Race Cars 1963 Corvette bodied roadster. When completed, the car will accompany the team's 2010 American Race Cars dragster along an aggressive schedule of NHRA Full Throttle and Lucas Oil Series events, as Bogacki pursues the NHRA Lucas Oil Championship in both Super Comp and Super Gas.
"Everyone likes the Corvette, right? My father was always enamored with the Corvette line, and I think that kind of stuck with me," said Bogacki when asked why he went with the Corvette. "More than anything, though, I just feel like Super Gas is a good class for me. I can incorporate the bulk of the knowledge and setup database that we've accumulated in Super Comp â€“ the throttle stops, engine combination, trans and converter, etc. - is all similar to what I know and I'm comfortable with. So I'm confident the learning curve won't be too steep. Plus, chassis builder Charlie Stewart is a great guy, I've known him and his son Jason for most of my life. The opportunity to work with them on a car was a deciding factor in going this route as well."
During our last pass with Bogacki we also discussed 2011 highlights and in a candid moment he revealed that his priorities are clearly in alignment. The most important moment of last year wasn't an impressive track victory, it was in fact a runner-up finish. "I got the chance to race my fiancée, Jessica (Camden), in the final round of Super Pro at our home track, I-57 Dragstrip in Benton, Illinois. She beat me in the final. It was just a regular weekly event at home, but it was one of my best racing memories."
You're a month into married life, how's it treating you at this point? Is it good to have someone in your corner that understands racing?
"It's great. We honeymooned in Punta Cana and just had a blast, it was beautiful and relaxing. Outside of the new title and a heavier left hand, life doesn't really seem any different, we've lived together for nearly two years, so it's not as if marriage was a drastic life adjustment! I am incredibly fortunate to have Jess in my corner, she's the rock in my life. As a racer herself, she understands the motivation behind what I do, and she's extremely supportive and understanding of the time and effort that I put into it."
Will you be doing any driving at all before April 20-22?
"A little bit. I'll take my Vega to the first Tenn-Tuck Triple Crown event in Bowling Green in late March. Other than that, I might bracket race once or twice locally. As soon as we get the 'vette done I'll start testing it rigorously. "
The team looks to complete the new CSRC roadster by late March and begin testing in hopes of making their NHRA debut at the Texas Motorplex LODRS event April 20-22 before continuing south to Houston Raceway Park for the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals the following weekend. In total, the team will attend nine NHRA Full Throttle Series National events and eight Lucas Oil Division Series Events in pursuit of an NHRA Lucas Oil Championship in 2012.
"We've got a lot of work to do, but the ball is rolling in the right direction and I'm extremely excited about the season," said Bogacki.
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