Luke Bogacki became the first driver to win multiple 2012 NHRA Super Gas national event titles when he drove his ThisIsBracketRacing.com backed, Charlie Stewart Race Cars built Corvette roadster to the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals title in Brainerd, MN. Bogacki, who won the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals in Houston earlier this year, nearly became just the 13th driver in NHRA history to win two classes in the same event: he lost a close double-breakout contest to Steve Mikus in the Super Comp final.
Bogacki’s Super Gas performance was nearly flawless. His worst reaction time in side-by-side competition was .020, and his next worst was his .014 final round reaction.
“I had to race Troy Coughlin, Jr. in round 4, that was definitely the key round in Super Gas,” he said. “TJ is a great racer. On the starting line, he’s just incredible. He’s probably the best leaver in the super classes; it seems like he never misses the tree. Plus, the JEGS team really has a handle on that Corvette roadster; they were putting on a .90 clinic. I had been .005 on the tree in each of the two previous rounds, and I didn’t touch anything: I figured I’d need every bit of that again. I missed the tree, but I got really fortunate, because TJ missed it too, which he rarely ever does. That gave me just enough room to take the stripe.”
Bogacki’s .020 reaction, his worst of the event excludingbye runs, got a slight jump on Coughlin’s .028. Bogacki held on for a close win: 9.909 to 9.911. Following that encounter, Bogacki dispatched Steve Mikus to earn a bye run into the Super Gas final.
Shortly after that Super Gas matchup, Bogacki was back in the staging lanes with his Super Comp entry, where he would once again race with a semi-final bye run hanging in the balance. To advance to Sunday’s fifth round of competition, Bogacki used strong reaction times: .013, .009, and .006 in rounds 1, 3, and 4 respectively, sandwiching a second round bye. His round five matchup with Division 4 ace, Steve Evans ended prematurely when Evans fouled, negating Bogacki’s worst reaction time of the event, .023, and handing him a single into the final round in both categories.
In the Super Gas final, he took a .014 to .025 starting line advantage over Mark McMasters and coasted to a 10.03 victory when McMasters had mechanical issues. Bogacki had littletime to celebrate his fourth NHRA national event win, however, as he made his way immediately back to the staging lanes with his ThisIsBracketRacing.com backed Super Comp entry to square off in a rematch with Mikus.
In that final round, Bogacki trailed on the starting line for the first time all weekend, as Mikus’s .009 reaction trumped his respectable .013. At the finish line, Bogacki edged in front, crossing the finish line first by just .007 of a second, but lost a double breakout: 8.870 to 8.881. The loss was Bogacki’s first final round defeat in national event competition, and ended his bid to join an elite group of racers who have doubled in national event competition.
“Not seeing that win light in the final was disappointing, certainly,” said Bogacki. “From a driver standpoint, I feel good about what I did in the final: I executed my game plan pretty well on both ends of the track. I just misread the conditions and missed my setup; I was going a little quicker than I thought, and in the end that was the difference. Steve just did a better job all the way around and he got a well-deserved win.”
The NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals provided Bogacki’s final opportunity to earn championship points in national event competition this season. The Super Gas win vaulted him into third place in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series standings. Bogacki’s Super Comp runner-up moved him into second place in that category. He has two Lucas Oil Division Series events remaining at which he can improve his point totals.
Bogacki’s Super Comp and Super Gas entries are backed by his website, ThisIsBracketRacing.com, an online driving school dedicated to sportsman drag racing and racers. In addition, his team receives associate backing from Bill Taylor Enterprises,Tinsley Drilling and Company, C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, JEGS, Advanced Product Design, and Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels.
“People see me at the track, and see a one man show. The impression is that I do this all by myself, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Any success we have is the direct result of hard work and input from a number of people. I specifically want to thank Charlie Stewart and Jason Richey at Charlie Stewart Race Cars; Bones, Andy and everyone at Huntsville Engine; and John Kyle at APD for building the best throttle stop carburetors on the market. I need to thank my buddy Bryan Robinson at BTE, Steve Williams at K&N, Tom Kundrick at MT, Marc Erickson at AutoMeter, as well as Jason Lynch, Sherman Adcock, David Tatum, Mark Horton, andTommy Phillips for their insight and assistance. All of those individuals have really sped up my learning curve in Super Gas.”
Charlie Stewart Race Cars constructed Bogacki’s Corvette early this year. The body features a K&N carbon hood scoop and paint from Todd’s Extreme Paint. A Huntsville Engine & Performance 582 pushes the car to the 9.90 ET at speeds in excess of 162 mph, and includes Wiseco pistons as well as a set of -3 Xtra heads, intake, and aluminum block from BRODIX. A Milodon Oil Pan contains Lucas Oil lubricants and is covered by a J&J Performance engine diaper. A Dedenbear throttle stop controls Renegade 116+ Racing Fuel from an APD 1050 throttle stop carburetor, and burnt gasses are exhausted thru a set of Nitroplate coated hedders built by Stewart from a Hedman kit. The powerglide transmission and converter are BTE products, and send power through a Moser Engineering rear end and axles to Mickey Thompson wheels and tires. A set of Ohlins LMP shocks round out the 4-link suspension package. Bogacki uses Moser’s new Pro Drag brakes to stop his ThisIsBracketRacing.com Corvette.
A K&R Pro-Cube II delay box handles all of the car’s electronic functions, and a Dixie Racing Products solenoid controls his B&M Pro Bandit shifter. Bogacki keeps close tabs on his combination thanks to an Auto Meter Multi-Function Data Logger and in-dash display. The winning machine also features a myriad of components available through JEGS Mail Order. Additional support comes from FrankensteinRacing Heads, DragRaceResults.com, ISC Racer’s Tape, American Race Cars, AirTek, and Nitrous Express.
“I also need to thank Don O’Neal, Brett Speer, and John Lobner for their help on Sunday when the schedule got hectic,” said Bogacki. “Above all else, I want to thank my wife, Jessica. She was able to make the trip to Brainerd with me, and I couldn’t have had the weekend I did without her help. She kept the cars clean, she helped me keep up in the late rounds, and she kept me focused. She had never seen me win a national event in person before, so it was really special to be able to share the whole weekend with her!”