WHEATLAND, Mo. – One of the ASCS National Tour drivers to keep an eye on during the ninth annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial began his racing journey about as far from south-central Missouri as someone can get.
Scott Bogucki is from McLaren Vale, South Australia, where he grew up admiring a grandfather who raced motocross.
Bogucki later bought a sprint car and starting winning at a couple of nearby dirt tracks.
But he dreamed of more – like racing for a living in the United States.
“With the way the dollar is (in Australia) it’s like 70 cents on the dollar there. It’s become so expensive to race at home,” Bogucki said. “My main reason for coming here, I wanted to race professionally.”
After finishing eighth in points as a rookie on the ASCS National Tour last season, Bogucki is enjoying a breakout season this time around.
He’s third in points behind Sam Hafertepe and Blake Hahn entering this weekend’s three-night Hockett-McMillin Memorial at Wheatland, which fires up Thursday night.
Bogucki has two wins and 10 top-five finishes in 25 events.
“The season has gone pretty good,” Bogucki said in a phone interview Wednesday, en route to Missouri from his race shop in Dallas, Texas. “We’ve had some bad luck and we’ve had some good luck. Most of all, we’ve been super consistent.
“At the start of the year, I wanted to make sure that I took few, if any, provisionals. So far, I’ve only had to take one. We took seven or eight last year. We’ve achieved more-consistent car speed and more consistent results than last year, which was our goal.”
Bogucki, 30, said going through the ASCS schedule for the second time has made a big difference. Not only is he seeing tracks for at least the second time, he’s more comfortable adapting to the nomadic lifestyle that goes with the sport.
“It’s being out on the road for months and months at a time and being more mentally prepared for what it takes,” Bogucki said. “You really don’t understand what it’s all about until you experience it once.”
When he first came to America in 2012, Bogucki served as a crew member for veteran driver Johnny Herrera. He said what he learned from Herrera was invaluable and the connections he made were key.
“Though Johnny, I got to meet a lot of great people, including my engine builder, Lee Nelson,” Bogucki said. “I got to meet one of the most famous crew chiefs in the world, Kenny Woodruff. We’re still great friends and he will be there this weekend with me.”
Bogucki spends 10 months of the year in the United States, returning to Australia in December and January. He said his parents and sister back home, as well as his girlfriend in Texas, keep him inspired when the need arises.
“A lot of success comes from confidence,” he said. “When your confidence gets beat down, those people are there to pick me back up.”
Bogucki returns to Lucas Oil Speedway with confidence after his runner-up finish to Hafertepe in last year’s $10,000-to-win Hockett-McMillin finale.
“I love the place, but hadn’t been really great on any of my visits to Wheatland until last year,” he said. “I’m hoping to come in this weekend and start off with the speed that we finished with last year.”