“Cool Hand Luke” Claims 2nd Lucas Oil Title
Prolific Sportsman racer Luke Bogacki has clinched his second NHRA national championship in as many years, following his 2013 Super Comp title with the Super Gas crown this season…..
Although his 2014 title just became official last weekend, Bogacki had seemingly put it out of reach months ago. He started his Super Gas season with four final round appearances in his first five events, and continued to tack on more points throughout the summer. Although he was challenged by several worthy adversaries, including Trevor Larson and Troy Coughlin (both of whom posted a higher points total than 2013 champion Rick Beckstrom), Bogacki was able to fend off all challengers. His massive 731 point score marks the highest points total in the 33-year history of the Super Gas category, eclipsing John Vineyard’s mark of 729 that had stood for 18 years.
In the eight events claimed toward his championship, Bogacki posted five wins, one runner-up, and a pair of fourth round losses for a gaudy competition record of 46-3! With his title, he joins one of the most elite lists in NHRA drag racing: since a season-long points championship was implemented just 15 drivers have earned NHRA championships in multiple categories. Other multi-class champions include Blaine Johnson, Dan Fletcher, Jeff Taylor, Mike Saye, David Rampy, Peter Biondo, Edmond Richardson, Scotty Richardson, Jason Line, Jack Beckman, Shawn Langdon, Jeg Coughlin, Jr., Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi.
“I was on top of the world when we won the Super Comp title last year,” Bogacki explained. “Winning a second championship is both equally exciting and hard to believe. Now, when I look down that list of multi-class champions, there will always be one name that I feel doesn’t belong in that group. That’s drag racing royalty right there. It’s mostly a list of people that I idolized growing up. To be mentioned in the same conversation with racers like that doesn’t seem real. It’s quite an honor.”
Behind the wheel of his RacingRV’s backed Corvette Roadster, Bogacki started his season with a win at the NHRA Division 3 opener at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. A week later, he posted a quarterfinal finish and a runner-up at the Division 2 double header in Atlanta. He then earned back-to-back victories at the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka and the Division 3 LODRS event in Chicago. He went undefeated in the windy city, earning the Route 66 Nationals crown at the same facility in late June. He capped his season with a third Division 3 LODRS triumph at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, and a fourth round loss at the prestigious U.S. Nationals.
The ’63 Corvette bodied, RacingRV’s backed machine that Bogacki drove to the championship was built by Charlie Stewart Race Cars. A Huntsville Engine & Performance 582 cubic inch powerplant pushes the car to the 9.90 Super Gas index at speeds exceeding 168 mph. The engine features a BRODIX aluminum block and BRODIX Head Hunter series cylinder heads, and is topped by an APD Max Speed carburetor (which Bogacki credited as a huge factor in the car’s increased speed and consistency). The motor also features Wiseco pistons, Jesel rocker arms, a Jesel belt drive, a Crane camshaft and lifters, a Milodon oil pan and pickup, and Earl’s Performance plumbing. Bogacki relies on Lucas oil and K&N filters to protect the engine, and uses a J&J Performance Engine diaper to protect the car in case of catastrophic failure. Hedman Hedders direct burnt Renegade Racing Fuel from the motor; those headers, along with many of the bolt-on components were coated by Nitroplate and fitted with mandatory tethers from CollectorTethers.com.
Bogacki uses a Top Sportsman powerglide transmission and 9” torque converter from BTE, and in 2014 came to rely on an external transmission cooler from SHARP Stuff products. Bogacki looks to Moser Engineering for all of his rear end componentry, including rear housing, axles, brakes, and third member. A set of Ohlins shocks help transfer the horsepower to Mickey Thompson wheels and a set of Mickey Thompson’s 3191W “Bubba” tires. Luke trusts an AirTek pressure monitoring tire gauge to ensure proper air pressure.
The RacingRV’s Corvette is outfitted with Auto Meter’s multi-function data logger, which Bogacki says was a vital tool to establishing his combination. A K&R Pro-Cube delay box, K&R Severe Duty switch panel, B&M Pro Bandit shifter, and Dixie shift solenoid round out the driver’s compartment.
Bogacki’s championship machine was painted by Todd’s Extreme Paint, featuring graphics from PCD Wraps. The Bogacki Motorsports team also depends on quality products from Dedenbear, Nitrous Express, ISC Racer’s Tape, American Race Cars, California Car Cover, DragRaceResults.com, RacerTees, and Goethe Enterprises. The majority of components on Luke’s championship winning Corvette are available online at JEGS.com.
“I guess saying that everything fell into place this season is an understatement,” Bogacki laughed. “I drove well for the most part, but I wouldn’t say that was the determining factor. We had a great car, and I’m surrounded by a lot of really smart people that I’ve come to trust and depend on. And good fortune definitely played a role: it seemed like every close race, the races that were decided by a couple thousandths of a second that we all know could go either way – they all went my way. I think that, more than anything, is the difference between a top ten season and a championship season; and there’s no explanation for getting all the breaks, but we certainly have.”
Bogacki was quick to credit a long list of marketing partners that are crucial to his success. “Obviously I need to give credit to RacingRV’s, K&N Filters, the major partner on our Super Comp car, and ThisIsBracketRacing.com. Each of those companies took a chance on our team; to deliver for them on and off the race track is a great feeling. I also want to thank our associate partners, they play a huge role as well: Advanced Product Design, Watts Auto Diesel Service, C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, JEGS, Mickey Thompson Tires, Bill Taylor Enterprises, PCD Wraps, and Product Development Group, the makers of AirTek pressure monitoring systems and Flo-Fast pumps. And of course I want to thank my family; without their support and hard work none of this would be possible: my wife Jessica, our son Gary, my mother Ellen, my father in-law Jack, mother-in-law Tracie and their family.”
Photo by: Bruce Biegler