“Cool Hand” Collects
Illinois-based racer Luke Bogacki, who was the 2013 NHRA Lucas Oil World Champion for Super Comp (8.90) class racing, won a second consecutive NHRA World Championship in 2014. But this time it came in the Super Gas (9.90) category racing his ’63 Chevy Corvette. The very popular racer, who is affectionately known as “Cool Hand” by his competitors because of his driving prowess, was racing a machine built by Charlie Stewart Race Cars, which features a 582ci big-block Chevy by Huntsville Engine & Machine. Luke was a picture of consistency last season while racking up three wins at the divisional level (winning NHRA Division 3) and two wins at the national level (Topeka and Joliet) to ultimately claim his second consecutive ultimate prize. Bogacki’s racing operation, which includes family members wife, Jessica, and brother Gary, receives its primary sponsorship from Racing RVs as well as highly valued support from a long list of associate backers.
History is Hers
Texas native and skilled racer Erica Enders-Stevens gave the sport of drag racing some major worldwide recognition during 2014 when she became the first woman in history to win an NHRA Pro Stock world championship title. The 31-year old racer accomplished that feat in truly dramatic fashion during the final round of the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals, held at Pomona Raceway, when she drove her Chevy Camaro past her closest points rival (and fellow Camaro racer) Jason Line. Racing the Stockseth Racing ’14 Camaro, which was built by RJ Race Cars and features a 500ci Elite Motorsports engine program, Erica’s NHRA Mello Yello Championship campaign was relentless. Her path to the top included six Number One qualifiers and six NHRA national event wins. She also collected the prestigious and lucrative 1st prize for the annual K&N Filters Horsepower Challenge event (held at Las Vegas) and ended the year holding both ends of NHRA’s Pro Stock class records at a remarkable 6.464 e.t. and 215.55 mph.
From Down Under to Up There
Australian Steve Harker helped increase international appeal and attention for NHRA racing when he delivered a resounding season campaign within NHRA’s Top Alcohol Funny Car category. Harker, originally from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and now resides near Gainesville, Georgia, prevailed to win the NHRA Lucas Oil World Championship in truly convincing fashion. Racing his Chevy Monte Carlo, which was built by California-based chassis builder Dave Uyehara, Harker became nearly unstoppable from about mid-season on. In the final 10 races his team entered he won eight times. His Speed City-sponsored Chevrolet was also a class performance leader evidenced by multiple “low e.t. of the meet” efforts, and at season’s end his 5.429 e.t. and 267.91 mph, which both came at Maple Grove Raceway in October, were the quickest and fastest in the sport of the year. Harker’s family orientated team, which includes his wife, Jenelle; daughter Diana; and son-in-law John Bojec, are the first new NHRA Lucas Oil TAFC champions since (the now retired) Frank Manzo’s 8-year reign.
Top of the Mountain
Oklahoma’s Cary Goforth enjoyed a dominating season during 2014 when he claimed not one, but two, major circuit titles for mountain motor Pro Stock racing. Driving his Jerry Haas-built and Sonny’s-powered ’14 Camaro, Goforth collected the points podium for both the quarter-mile IHRA and the eighth-mile PDRA championship circuits. Following a strong and consistent season, Goforth locked up both titles by just qualifying for the respective season-ending events held in Memphis, Tennessee, (IHRA) and Richmond, Virginia, (PDRA). For Goforth, who races in tandem with his father, Dean, who also drives a ’14 Camaro Pro Stocker, it was in fact the fifth time (including the now defunct ADRL tour) in his career that he has claimed a world championship for the class genre that boasts engine programs often close to and sometimes in excess of 900 cubic inches! Goforth’s team is a 100 percent independent effort self-funded by his family’s very successful oilfield business, Dean’s Casing Service.