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San Antonio: Round one preview

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San Antonio: Round one preview
Mar 19, 2007, 5:25 AM

ADDICTED TO NITRO: RACER LAGANA JR. HOPES TO CONTINUE 2006 SUCCESS THIS WEEKEND IN SAN ANTONIO NORWALK, Ohio (March 19, 2007) -- After years of struggling in the Knoll Gas -- Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel ranks, 29-year-old Bobby Lagana ...

ADDICTED TO NITRO: RACER LAGANA JR. HOPES TO CONTINUE 2006 SUCCESS THIS WEEKEND IN SAN ANTONIO

NORWALK, Ohio (March 19, 2007) -- After years of struggling in the Knoll Gas -- Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel ranks, 29-year-old Bobby Lagana Jr. maintains the same pre-season mentality as any year prior to this weekend's Nitro Jam season kick-off in San Antonio, Texas. (Buy tickets at Ticketmaster: www.ticketmaster.com/artist/959593.) The event, the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS, is scheduled for March 23 -- 25 at San Antonio Raceway.

"A lot of people don't realize how important it is to not set your expectations too high. We just go out there with the goal of having fun," said Lagana Jr., who calls Scarsdale, N.Y. home. "We want to put ourselves in a position to qualify, but I hear people get there Thursday and say 'I'm going to win the race.' It's dangerous to be too confident. The last thing you want to do is leave a race disappointed.

"This sport is all about overachieving. We are the classic example of that, competing with guys with ten times more money. Our ability to do that all comes from my dad, he taught us how to race, taught us how to run this thing from every single bolt."

And Lagana Jr. did just that last season, claiming the first two wins of his career, an achievement he's been pursuing his entire adult life. The first win came against IHRA's defending world champion Clay Millican at Grand Bend, Ontario. His second win, coming in Epping, N.H., was just icing on the cake.

The team has stepped things up this year. With the money Lagana Jr. earned for finishing third in the 2006 point standings, the team upgraded to a newer, nicer hauler.

"We do have some help this year from Skull Shine -- Torco. And with our third place money last year, bought a bigger truck and trailer. But we'll still need to qualify every time, that's what keeps us going from race-to-race.

"I think this is going to be the most competitive year with IHRA ever," said Lagana Jr. "There are just so many good cars, drivers, crew chiefs, teams...it's going to be a dog-fight all year. It will be so easy with all the competition this year to all of a sudden find yourself not qualified for a race.

"As usual, Jay's (Lewis, crew chief) got the car looking good this year," added Lagana. "How can I complain, I have the 'crew chief of the year.'"

Other drivers competing at this weekend's Texas Nationals include:

-Cruz Pedregon, Bob Gilbertson, Del Worsham, Gary Densham and Dale Creasy Jr. in Knoll Gas -- Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car

-Scotty Cannon, Doug Foley, Bruce Litton, Scott Weis, Terry McMillen and TJ Zizzo in Knoll Gas -- Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel

-Quain Stott, Danny Rowe, Mike Janis, Glen Kerunsky and Matt Hagan in Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified

-Mark Thomas, Rob Atchison and Terry McMillen in Alcohol Funny Car

-Pete Berner, Frank Gugliotta, Robert Patrick and Rob Mansfield in Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock

***

Saturday HOLT CAT "Night of Fire"

The HOLT CAT "Night of Fire," which occurs Saturday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. during the Texas Nationals, features the final round of professional qualifying under the lights -- including two flame-burning Nitro-fueled classes -- and the ground-pounding Bob Motz jet-powered Kenworth truck.

Providing San Antonio fans even more value when attending the Texas Nationals, NAPA AUTO PARTS is offering a Nitro Fast Pass coupon available at participating stores. Redeemable at the San Antonio Raceway ticket office and all Ticketmaster locations, the coupon grants $15 off a Friday or Sunday adult general admission ticket, plus a free kids ticket.

-credit: ihra

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