Evan Knoll knows passion for drag racing. The Michigan-based fuel and natural gas magnate, owner of Knoll Gas, Torco Racing Fuels and a number of other broad-based companies headquartered in Decatur, Mich., has sponsored a number of drag racing teams and drivers over the years...doing his part to strengthen the sport he loves by making financial commitments to teams, facilities and sanctioning bodies at every level. Knoll's passion for the sport is legendary which is why, when he was looking for a driver to take the seat of his personal Seelye Wright Automotive Group Top Fuel Dragster, Knoll looked for a driver who's passion stood out.
Bobby Lagana Jr. has been racing in the Top Fuel class for over a decade. He is one of the most recognizable faces in the IHRA Top Fuel ranks due to his history, accessibility and perseverance. Lagana followed in the footsteps of his father, Bobby Lagana Sr., by approaching his racing career with a "whatever it takes" attitude. He has always signed every autograph, made every effort to connect with the fans while, at the same time, enjoying a measure of success on the track. Knoll notices Lagana's commitment years back, and when Scotty Cannon decided to join forces with his son to form a two-car Pro Modified team for the 2008 schedule...leaving the seat in Knoll's Top Fueler open.he did not look far to fill that seat. Lagana Jr. will pilot Knoll's Seelye Wright rail in 2008 while his brother, newly-licensed Dominick, will step into the seat of the Twilight Zone entry he vacated...becoming the first-ever two-car Top Fuel team with brothers at the helm in IHRA history.
"I have been racing for a long time and I have seen a lot of crazy things and met plenty of interesting people," Knoll said. "There is something special about a guy who wants to race so badly he will carry his dragster on an open bed ramp truck. And he not only would race against the heavily-sponsored teams, sometimes he would beat them. I am so excited for 2008, not just because we have assembled a strong team but because we have assembled a group of racers who love Top Fuel cars for the sheer power and history that comes along with them. My goals for 2008 are to keep spreading the Seelye Wright, Torco Racing Fuels and Knoll Gas named throughout the country and brings smiles to the faces of people who need them. Look for big things from these teams on and off the track!"
Lagana Jr. is thrilled with his new Top Fuel ride.
"An opportunity for some history making runs and a season of non-stop excitement.that is exactly what 2008 has in store for this group of racers, the sponsors, IHRA and, most importantly, the fans," Lagana said. "I am just so excited, nervous, happy and eager to start the 2008 season. I want Evan to enjoy every moment of this incredible situation. I am a little upset at not having the opportunity to avenge the 0-4 record our team amassed against Scotty Cannon last year, but on the other hand we are all going to be working together. A father-son, brother-brother team. Wow. Evan's excitement and competitive nature is very contagious. I'm so excited to try to make our live-long dreams merge with Evan's dreams as well."
Dominick Lagana was raised at the race track and he knows the ups and downs of the 8,000 horsepower Top Fuel monsters.
"I am very happy," he said. "I am really looking forward to racing with my brother and appreciate the opportunity Evan and everyone who supports this car is giving me. I hope everyone knows how amazing this is. I'm speechless."
The brothers tested in Gainesville last week and carded some very respectable results. Bobby posted three career-best times in a row, running a 4.63, 4.62 and finishing with a 4.59. Dominick also topped his career best twice, ultimately running a 4.85. Bobby pointed out his brother may not have as many laps as he does physically down the quarter-mile, but has just as many mentally.
"I really believe with this complete team backing each other we will see Dom rise quickly from rookie to a threat, to all teams...even the Seelye Wright Car," he said. "There are certain tricks to grooming a driver and, believe me, for the last four years we have exercised every one of those with Dom. I think this late-season testing has only made the Nitro bug even bigger for this whole team and we have plans for some more early-season testing, even some NHRA races before San Antonio. We just want to make sure all our ducks are in a row because IHRA Top Fuel is going to be very competitive next year and we want to be ready for it. I just want to reiterate one point, yes we want to make a run at the coveted IHRA Top Fuel championship, but most important I want Evan and everybody that will help make this train roll say when they leave our pit, 'THAT WAS A WHOLE LOTTA FUN!'"
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