Volume III, Issue 11, Page 27

THREE OUTTA THREE AIN’T BAD

Luke Bogacki Wraps Up Phenomenal IHRA Season with 3 Top Ten Finishes

Early on, Luke Bogacki, a 27-year old professional drag racer out of Woodville, Alabama, earned a reputation as one of the most successful big dollar bracket competitors in the Southeast, if not the country.

Over the last decade, he’s racked up victories and championships in events and series that span the Sportsman racing landscape; winning some of the largest Top ET style events (as well as no-box races) from coast to coast, but for 2008, Bogacki shifted his focus to IHRA competition. He began the campaign with vigor, devising an aggressive and ambitious schedule that would allow him to chase IHRA points in four separate eliminator categories.

The results were spectacular. He accumulated four national event titles this year (more than any other Sportsman competitor), in three separate categories. At season’s end, he had accomplished a feat never duplicated in Sportsman competition by finishing the season in the top 5 in national points in three separate categories! He teamed with car owner and close friend Bryan Robinson to field a Stock Eliminator entry that finished second in national points. He then drove the same Huntsville Engine and Performance-powered American Race Cars dragster to a 4th place finish in both Top Dragster and Quick Rod, alternating classes from event to event.

Bogacki’s Stock Eliminator ride is a ‘68 Chevy Nova owned by former NHRA Super Gas World Champion and close friend Bryan Robinson. The machine is powered by an aluminum-head 396 built by Brian Rogers.

“We started off the Stock season way behind the eight ball,” said Bogacki. “It wasn’t for lack of effort--Bryan and I, along with Brian Rogers and Matt Tinnin worked our tails off all winter, but when we hit the track we didn’t have a competitive car. Stock was a much tougher learning curve than I anticipated--and we’re still learning each time we hit the track.”

Bogacki suffered early losses at both the Pro-Am and national events in San Antonio. He then had another lackluster outing in Baton Rouge, before posting a pair of semi-final finishes at the Pine Valley Pro-Am.

“Pine Valley was the turning point,” explained Bogacki. “That’s where we really started to find a happy combination. Not that semi-final losses are stellar finishes or anything, but I knew leaving there that we had a good car.”

He then set out for Pittsburgh Raceway Park, where he posted another semi-final effort in a Pro-Am race, before collecting his first Stock victory at the Thunder Nationals the following day. That win was pivotal to an amazing 15-round Stock Eliminator winning streak that included another national event victory at the Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals before falling in the 4th round of the season ending World Finals in Rockingham. His season-ending swing moved him into 2nd in national points, behind Nick Folk.

In Top Dragster competition, Bogacki’s started on a much more positive note. He attended the season-opening event at Immokalee Regional Raceway, and posted strong finishes in each day of the event, despite not making a final round. He then threw his name into the hat of championship contenders by winning the Texas Sportsman Nationals in San Antonio. He nailed a pair of runner-up Pro-Am finishes at Milan Dragway and Mountain Park Dragway to bolster his chances, but despite consistent finishes all season, Bogacki tailed off at season’s end, failing to win a round in his last three points earning events.

“The end of the Top Dragster season was disappointing,” said Bogacki. “I felt like if I won the final round at Clay City I still had a chance to catch Scotty (Richardson), but I got beat. I don’t know if that took the wind out of my sails or what, but it was downhill from there. I ended up 4th in Top Dragster, which is great, but that was the class I felt like I had the best chance in all season.” In addition to his 4th place national finish, Bogacki also claimed the IHRA Division 3 Top Dragster championship.