Oh, how Dom Lagana has been looking forward to this weekend. The younger son of drag racing veteran Bobby Lagana Sr. hasn't been in the driver's seat since the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol two months ago, but that changes at this weekend's Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway when the horsepower-hungry 27-year-old straps into the Paul Richards Racing NTB/Service Central Top Fuel dragster as one of 21 drivers vying for the event title.
Dom has somewhat patiently handed over the reins to older brother Bobby Lagana Jr. as of late, as the Lagana family match-raced their second Top Fuel car between NHRA outings. Bobby was the designated driver for events at Canadian racetracks in Edmonton, Alb., and Grand Bend, Ont., as well as at a special event in Buffalo, not too far from their Scarsdale, N.Y., homestead.
"We've been busy, and we've put on more miles in the last couple of months than we have in the past three years," laughed Dom. "But this is what we love. We can't stay away."
The on-the-move Lagana brothers were also in attendance at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals several weeks ago, as they pitched in on the Mike Salinas-driven dragster. Notably, Salinas qualified for the Top Fuel field for the first time in his career.
"Really, it just keeps us fresh," said Dom. "We like being able to help out our friends, and it's a good way for us to stay out there when we aren't racing our own car. In between everything that we've had going on, we've been working on our stuff, keeping everything serviced and getting it all prepared for this weekend.
"I'm super excited to get back in the car. Sometimes, when you haven't been in the car for a while, you get nervous. But I I'm feeling pretty good right now and definitely looking forward to it. The weather is supposed to be cool, and that adds a whole other level of excitement. It's been pretty hot this summer, and we've all been dealing with those 130-140 degree racetracks, but now we'll get to step up our game a little bit, and we're ready for it."
Last year was the first time that the Lagana family had the opportunity to race at the Minnesota facility, and they were completely wowed by the experience. With the famed and acclaimed "Brainerd Zoo" – a campground situated on the property packed to the gills with enthusiastic race fans who make the annual event a true celebration – along with the always-exuberant crowd that cheers drivers and teams from the grandstands, the Laganas found the energy positively infectious.
"It's definitely an experience to race there," said Dom. "Those fans are hardcore, and NHRA is really lucky to have that kind of support from such a strong fan base. Everyone should make a trip to Brainerd for this race at least once in their lifetime. We're always motivated to do well in our NTB/Service Central dragster, but with that kind of support, you just can't wait to put on a good show for everyone. It's just awesome."
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