Drag Illustrated Issue 171, September / October 2021 - Page 78

He supported us and we made it back , so we try and help these teams out here because , in racing , the more cars we get the better , and I know firsthand the situation of being a broke guy , trying to scrape by going through garbage cans , making it work .
When we started upgrading our equipment , we didn ’ t understand what exactly to do . In the early 2000s , when Clay and Mike were the kings of IHRA , they steered us in the right direction because we were blowing up motors . We didn ’ t understand how a fuel management system worked because we never had one . We didn ’ t have a modern barrel valve , and hell , they rolled us over motors sometimes . They were in the championship hunt , fighting for it and you got these idiots running off a Ram truck . These guys took one of their spare motors and rolled it down to us because they just wanted to help us . There were definitely a few times where we went out there and kicked the rods out , and Clay and Kloeber brought us out of the ashes . If that didn ’ t happen , who knows what . You ’ ve got to remember where you came from . I for sure do . My brother for sure does . That ’ s where that drive comes from . You ’ ve got to help people .
We ’ re in a fortunate position right now and the Torrence family wants us to help people .
BOBBY : It was a lot of teams that helped our little team stay in business . To watch that drove me and Dom for sure . Once we started building up our inventory and our knowledge , we always try to spread . It was never for a self-serving issue . It ’ s always for the betterment of the sport , especially right now where our sport needs as many cars that are here to put on a show . You ’ re the show . The fans are paying for header flames
to the finish line . And I believe that in NHRA drag racing as well .
You want fans to come and have the least amount of negative memories in their head of the weekend , and if most of the cars make it to the finish line , that ’ s what they want to see . They want to see close side-by-side racing , but most important is finish line runs . I understand all the rest of the classes are important to our sport , but the nitro classes are , some people might say , the biggest part of the show . When 11,000 horsepower is side-by-side , both of them , 22,000 horsepower , rattling back and forth , and the car is doing 100 mph in eight tenths of a second , that ’ s pretty impressive . If you ’ re just a person that doesn ’ t even know one single thing about an automobile , and you watch that car go down the track , you ’ re going to be in awe .
The team also rallied around Dom following his near-tragic accident last year . It wasn ’ t surprising , but it somehow brought the team even closer . Dom made his triumphant return earlier this year and while the success never wavered when he was going through his life-changing procedures , having him back once again made the team complete again .
“ It was just the brotherhood that I knew we had , but that everybody showed me ,” Dom says .
“ They missed me . The reason we get so excited is that any win could be your last . Success is never guaranteed . Everybody knows we have the air horn ( that the team uses to celebrate following a victory ) and once I had my accident and I was not at the races , they won some races with Steve ’ s car and they would not honk the air horn because I loved that thing .
“ It ’ s stupid stuff like that ,” Dom continues .
“ But it was the brotherhood here , the camaraderie , the support that all the guys showed me . It was a driving force , laying in a hospital bed with no legs and skinny like a twig . My [ wife ], Sara , obviously showed me so much strength , and these guys , they wanted me back . They said , ‘ We need you back here ,’ even though they won a championship . That was big for me and a big thing mentally , to have something to come back to , just to drive you on those hard days . They made me feel like I was part of the puzzle . I appreciated it because I ’ ve sacrificed my whole life to drag racing and I love it . It ’ s my passion . For them to say we need you here , it was a driving force , and to be able to win races with Steve ’ s car and to be able to win two races with Billy ’ s car , I cannot complain at all . I ’ m so lucky .”
Ultimately , the Laganas and Hogan know they ’ re in a special position and it ’ s not something they take for granted . The journey has been special and even as the goals have changed , their outlook has not . There ’ s still a love for nitro racing , working together , and living the racing dream every day .
“ I ’ m very complete with this , what we ’ ve been able to accomplish ,” Bobby says . “ I enjoy that we ’ re able to do this together , and that we all still respect each other , and that guys could go elsewhere , but their choice is to stay together and race together . That ’ s what drives me . And then when you watch that car go down the track , it ’ s just something that , I don ’ t know what it could be replaced with . You look back and you say that you would just do it again completely for free , just to be a part of a car going down the racetrack .” DI
78 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 171