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"On the Road" with Luke Bogacki
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Tech Talk

6-05 Change: Nothing Stays the Same
Woodville, AL
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Change: Nothing Stays the Same

They say that one thing is constant in life, and that’s change.  I’ve 
certainly had my share since the last column.  If you’ll remember, I spent  most of
the May column pissing and moaning about how terribly my racing season  was
going--I couldn’t get a break, and was tearing up everything I took to the 
race track.  On the racing front, things really haven’t gotten a lot  better, but
the whole flow of things has certainly been shaken up.

Following my adventurous trip to Farmington, NC (you may recall the nitrous 
explosion, the broken flywheel, bent up butterflies on the carburetor--and the
screwing off of a pretty easy round with a bunch of money on the line...), I
was  pretty much burnt out--and out of money.  I put an advertisement
together  for both dragsters, with the basic intention of selling one and calming my 
schedule down a bit.  Within a week and a half, I had two buyers that I 
couldn’t turn down, and I was officially out of the dragster business.   Chris
Dollar of Texas purchased my ‘02 car, complete with the 588, and Richard  Yeager
from just down the road in Cullman bought the new car, rolling.   Suddenly,
the kid that always had too many racecars just has a Vega.  And  believe it or
not, I’m pretty content with that!

To add to the drama for the month, June 9 was my last day of employment at 
Huntsville Engine.  Let me go ahead and put an end to any rumors that may  crop
up right here publicly: I left HEPC on very good terms.  Todd Ewing  and Andy
Anderson are two of the greatest guys I’ve ever known, and they were  great
to work for--same for the previous owners, Garry Reavis and John  Cline.  I
have an immense respect for all four (as for each of the other  employees), and I
would not have left without knowing that we were all on good  terms, both
personally and professionally.  I’m still very closely involved  with Huntsville
Engine: they’ll continue to do all of my engine work (as they  have for over
five years), and I’ll be doing a lot of work for HEPC, I’m just  not going to
be there everyday.  For me, it was just time to take my life  down a new road.
I’ve started a marketing firm out of my house and race  shop: Bogacki
Marketing Solutions.’

What the heck is Bogacki Marketing Solutions?  That’s a pretty common 
question.  I handle some marketing and promotional needs for race teams:  press
releases, sponsorship proposals, hero cards, press kits, etc.   Additionally, I’m
gaining some clients in the form of small businesses within  the performance
aftermarket, for which I’m designing handouts and brochures, and  have got the
capability of producing bulk quantities of just about any printed  material. 
Plus, we’re offering T-shirts, banners, and just about any other  marketing
related items.  I’ve got a lot of vision and ideas for the  future, but for the
time being the above is keeping me more than busy.

As for the racing end of things...  Since my last column I’ve been on  the
road a little bit.  I made my last event in the ‘04 Miller Dragster at  the
Memphis Mega 10’s, and I’m sorry to say that it went out in less than 
spectacular fashion (not that I’d really accomplished much in the car to begin
as I failed to stage for fourth round all weekend.  I took the  following
weekend off to complete the ‘02 car for Chris, and then set out for  the BTE/Citgo
Series event in Shreveport, LA to deliver that machine, and  compete in the

The delivery of the car went fine.  Considering that whole transaction  had
the potential to be the mother of all awkward situations (Chris is my  ex-fiance
’s brother), things could not have been smoother.  I made a couple  laps in
the whip, and Chris made one blast, loaded up, and headed for Wichita  Falls a
happy camper.  I wheeled the trusty ‘ole Vega to a Sportsman  victory in
Saturday’s event, which marked my second win along the BTE Series  trail.  Sunday I
lost early in Sportsman, but made it down to 16 cars in  Super Pro before
taking a little bit of stripe against a 4 second  dragster.  How much stripe?  You
’d have to have a sundial or possibly  a calendar to determine exactly.  Let’
s just say I’m a little out of  practice from out front!

The good news from Shreveport was that I actually felt like the Vega was a 
very competitive top bulb car.  I had won a couple top bulb events earlier  in
the season with it, and I knew it was decent, but I made some changes to the 
setup and it really responded.  That being said, I decided to go ahead and 
wager the $500 entry fee on her the next weekend at “The Best Damn Bracket 
Race... Period!” at Montgomery Motorsports Park.  Although a tropical storm  hit
the coast essentially washing out the weekend, we did get Friday’s $10,000 
event in before we were washed away.  And, the Vega lived up to  expectations. 
In the first six rounds, she moved .005: from 6.314 to  6.319.  At fourteen
cars, I was sitting on the bye (so with a win I bye to  the semi’s), and squared
off with Andy Beal.  We were both .010 on the  tree, and the Vega picked up a
tick, as I rang up a 6.308 on my 6.31.  Andy  dropped to a couple above
(essentially feeding me another calendar) for the  round win, and he went on to
runner-up to Melvin Wilson.  In all, I  couldn’t help but be happy with the
performance, I just wish I could’ve put one  or two more W’s together to make it
pay off financially.

Next up, I carried the Vega North to Clay City Dragway in Kentucky for a 
BTE/Citgo Series event.  There, she was still glued on the 6.31, and I  managed
to get to six cars in the $5,000 Super Pro event.  At that time, I  made the
executive decision that my .001 react was not good enough, so I bumped  it down
to a -.014 (good call!).  Of course, my opponent puts down a .040+  package,
and the Vega rings up yet another dead-on 6.31.  And, just in case  I was
wondering, I was informed that the .001 react (had I left the left-hand  button
alone) would have won me the bye to the final...awesome!

At the conclusion of the five grander, Danny and Chris put on a little 
gamblers race, which I made the final of before falling to Chuck Mink.  The 
runner-up was a little confidence builder, and paid for the weekend.

In addition to serving up the red eye in the five, and hogging the stripe  in
the final of the gamblers race, the Saturday event also brought it’s share of
humility in the Sportsman class.  In the BTE/Citgo Series, bottom bulb 
racers are allowed to use a transbrake (rather than just swap feet).  This  is
something I had never tried in several years of racing competitively because 
nearly all the tracks and series I had run (in the South) were “footbrake” 
only.  But, seeing as the Vega had been so nasty off the top, I figured I  might
as well give it a shot.  In time runs, I looked like I knew what was  going on.
I made a couple runs, adjusted the button and the launch chip,  and then
rung up an .012 and .013 react (oh yeah--t
hey’re in trouble now).   That was all
well and good until the tree started coming down unevenly (you  know, with
dial-ins...).  At that point, I had to determine when to block  the other side of
the tree, when to duck under the blinder, when to chip the  car, etc.  To
make a long story short, all that was a more than my little  bean can compute: I
was .080 in run for the money.  I was .050 first  round.  I was .070 second
round.  At that point, I punted: I yanked  all the junk back out and tried to
footbrake third round opposite defending  series champion Phil Combs (and
although I had a much more respectable .020  bulb, that didn’t work out for me

Sunday I went back to footbrake only, and made seven laps between .018 and 
.007.  In the quarterfinals I was .010 to my opponents .023.  He was  dead-on
with a one, and I made another positive executive decision: to get .002  behind
on the stripe (sweet!).  I Super Pro, second round I’m .017 and drop  to
dead-on with a 1.  My opponent is .002, dead-on with a 2.  So,  sixty bucks
later....  Third round I’m .008, take .008.  My opponent  is .004, dead on with a 1.
Fourth round...I sat on the scooter and watched  someone else have fun.

Clay City marked the first BTE/Citgo even that I claimed points for the 
Super Pro class.  I notched a 4, which I was pretty pleased with in the  Vega (of
course, at the rate that they’re going Scotty and Edmond will probably 
mathematically eliminate me from contention before I get another claim!).   I didn’t
claim my quarterfinal in Sportsman, because it was only fifth round,  and
there are a lot of races left.  Phil Combs sits in the drivers seat of  Sportsman
right now, on the heels of another ’W’ at Clay City, but there is a  bunch
of racing left to do, and a handful of guys have a chance to make it 

A few short days after my return from Kentucky, I set out even further 
North, for the Wolverine Bracket Nationals at Mid-Michigan Motorplex.  The  event
featured a $10,000 winners purse in both Box and No-Box Saturday, and  $2,500
to win each class Sunday.  I made the twelve-hour journey, and  entered the “Las
” Vega in both classes.  Since the No-Box class was  quarter-mile, I changed
the converter in the beast in an attempt to knock down  trap rpm a little bit.
Good move: I effectively slowed her down .2 and 5  mph, and knocked off a
thrilling 100 rpm in the lights!  I spent Friday  night under the Vega changing
that back to the way it was.

In Super Pro (Box) Saturday, I was .008 and going dead-on third  round. 
Which placed me smack in the middle of Kelly Spear’s way and his  .010 package. 
In No-Box, I should have gotten the memo first round; I was  .018 and dropped
to dead-on with a 1 (keep in mind that this was in No-Box, on  the long track).
My opponent gave me about .015 change.  In fact, in  seven rounds my worst
lamp on the bottom was .018...and I left on two of those  opponents.  Luckily,
things went my way for most of the day, and I made it  down to three cars. 
There, I was .003.  My opponent was .005.  I  had been holding about 4 all day,
but the Vega lost a couple hundredths in the  middle.  My opponent was low 1
above, and I didn’t think there was enough  room in front; I dropped to .015 or
so behind, two high and several thousand  dollars down (as a $600
semi-finalist, versus the $12,000 available to the  finalists).  I love this sport!

I entered a high-rollers race Saturday evening, which was just as 
exhilarating as putting a couple hundred-dollar bills in a paper shredder.   That
had a great time seeing the finer points of Stanton, Michigan with  some
wonderful hosts who will remain nameless (Seriously; thanks guys, that was  a lot
of fun)!

Sunday things didn’t get any  better.  The Vega spun the tires (I didn’t
know it could do that either...)  fourth round of Super Pro, and my No-Box
opponent joined the “Kick Luke to the  curb” club fourth round with another .020
package that I couldn’t get  under.  Twelve hours of quiet reflection later, I’
m back in  Woodville.

Honestly, I can’t help but be happy with my equipment and my driving over 
the last month: I’ve been close everywhere I’ve been.  I just keeping  running
into a buzz saw (or screwing one off) when I get close to getting  paid.  At
any rate, that’s an improvement from my early season woes: The  scoop has
stayed on, I am making regular trips to the pay window (although we’re  trading
checks for the most part), and I really am having fun running the wheels  off my
little Vega!  For the next month, I’m going to make a run at the  BTE/Citgo
Series.  This weekend I’m off to Topeka, KS for the division 4  event. 
Following a weekend off, I’ll be on tour with Danny and Chris:  running the
(KY) event before three-dayers at Columbus (OH) and Adel  (GA).  I’m
performing maintenance on the ‘ole Beave’ right now, because  she’s going to
accumulate some miles this month!

As always, thanks for reading.  Feel free to e-mail me at any time
(_lukebogacki@aol.com_ (mailto:lukebogacki@aol.com) ), and please support  the
partners who make this column and my racing endeavors  possible!

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