Series spotlight - Bobby Lagana Jr.

Showmanship Key To Lagana Success The magic of drag racing showmanship Long burnouts, fan interaction an important part of Lagana success NORWALK, Ohio (July 2, 2010) -- As any knowledgeable race fan will tell you, a Top Fuel dragster is a ...

Showmanship Key To Lagana Success

The magic of drag racing showmanship
Long burnouts, fan interaction an important part of Lagana success

NORWALK, Ohio (July 2, 2010) -- As any knowledgeable race fan will tell you, a Top Fuel dragster is a specifically built machine designed to get form point A to point B as quickly as possible without much else in the middle.

Burnouts are typically quick, staging is usually quicker and the time from startup to shutdown is carefully monitored by each team to maximize every inch of their nitro-burning machines potential.

Lagana's dragster features the signatures of hundreds of fans from each event

And then there are those that choose to do things a little differently. Then there is nitro showman Bobby Lagana Jr.

A true fan of the sport in addition to actually getting to race, Lagana is above all else a racer, but he also likes to think of himself as an entertainer as well. And with the recent changes to the Nitro Jam series, Lagana gets to be a little bit of both with his unique burnouts, quick runs and welcoming personality.

"I love getting a chance to interact with the fans and be a part of this incredible new format. It gives the fans a chance to get closer than any other sport to the drivers and their cars and it gives us a chance to really go out there and put on a good show for them in return," Lagana said.

As a featured driver on the revamped Nitro Jam circuit, Lagana has become a star attraction with his unique personality, exciting racing style and openness to interact with the fans. In fact during each Fan Fest, in the center of the fan activities, you will find Lagana eager to meet with fans, sign autographs and even allow people to sign a few autographs for him as well.

Lagana is not only a fan favorite, but he is currently leading the Top Fuel championship standings

Because right outside of his pit space you will find the body to Lagana's dragster with a one-of-a-kind wrap that allows fans to sign the machine moments before he makes a pass. It was a concept that began as a fun idea, but has since taken on a life of its own as fans lineup four and five deep to ink their signature on the side of the dragster and root on their new favorite driver to victory.

"It has been an incredible experience. We knew it would be popular when we first decided to do it in West Palm Beach, but it has really taken off. People get such a thrill when signing the car and when they discover that it is the same car that we will be racing -- and then they see it and their signature out on the track -- they become instantly involved in our run," Lagana said. "It gives fans a chance to interact with us like never before."

Known for his fan interaction, Lagana brought all the fans watching his victory celebration in Salt Lake City in for the picture

In addition to his actions in the pits, Lagana has also become a fan-favorite on the track as well with quick passes and entertaining burnouts. In fact Lagana has become a bit of a showman with his burnouts, making long, smoky, halftrack passes to the approval and applause of the crowded grandstands.

It is a practice usually reserved for older nostalgia vehicles, but Lagana has been getting it done in his state-of-the-art Top Fuel machine and so far it has worked wonders for him and his team.

"We began doing the long burnouts in Salt Lake City. We did one and it really didn't seem to affect the car that much so we decided to do it again. From there it just took off," Lagana said. "The fans really eat it up seeing us making a long burnout and then when we back it up with a good run it really speaks volumes about what we are doing. And besides, it has really become a bit of a good luck charm as of late."

Lagana is the new king of Top Fuel burnouts

And that is certainly no lie. Since Lagana first made a longer than usual burnout during the first session of Nitro Jam at Salt Lake City last month, Lagana has won seven of his last eight rounds of competition and has since overtaken Bruce Litton for the Top Fuel championship lead. During that timeframe he has also won three races in a row to push his total to five victories this season while amassing an incredible 15-5 round win-loss record.

Now, with the championship lead in hand, Lagana heads to the Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario July 16-18 for the MOPAR Nitro Jam Nationals where Lagana has won before back in 2006. And for the only driver of the quartet to have never won a championship, the final five races of the season will be key for the driver known the racing world over as the "Peoples Champion."

The "Peoples Champion" Bobby Lagana Jr.

If nothing else, at least Lagana will have the support of several thousand fans riding alongside him at each event as he and his band of racing nomads try to overcome the odds and overpower the heavily funded teams trying to play catch-up.

"We came into this season as the underdogs going up against the last three Top Fuel champions, but right now we are the ones on top," Lagana said. "These guys out here -- Bruce, Del and Spencer -- they are great racers and I love going up against them. I tip my hat to what they are doing, but we are certainly excited to be where we are. I look forward to the rest of the season."

-source: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Bobby Lagana Jr.