Q&A with “Dirt Late Model’s Last True Outlaw” Jackie Boggs
GRAYSON, KY-One of the region’s most accomplished drivers is Grayson, Kentucky’s Jackie Boggs. Boggs, the son of legendary Hall of Fame racer Jack Boggs, has won races with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, won numerous track championships, and is a favorite to win no matter where he races at. He has also built up one of the largest fan bases in the sport.
Even though he didn’t run his first race last season until July 23rd, Boggs is coming off of what is undoubtebly one of the best seasons of his career. A big part of that was the immense amount of success he was able to have at SOS. Boggs went undefeated at SOS last year, winning all four races he competed in. Among the races he won was the $10,000 to win Southern 50 and the $5,000 to win Iron-Man Classic. We had a chance to sit down with Boggs and discuss racing at SOS, the Boggs/Conley rivalry, his huge fanbase, and his goals for the 2012 season.
T. J. Layne: It’s simply amazing what you were able to accomplish at SOS in 2011, winning all four races that you competed in. What is it about SOS that fits your driving style so well?
Jackie Boggs: I just have a really excellent race car. The other guys don’t have their car tuned in real good for that track yet, my race car is ahead of those guys right now. It’s not me, it’s the car.
Layne: Part of what is so impressive about your 2011 season is how you were able to go out and dominate so many races against extremely tough competition. How tough is it to win races in the southern Ohio region?
Boggs: It’s tough. The tri-state area is as tough of competition as you’ll have anywhere in the United States. You can go up to Eldora and R. J. Conley is loble to be on pole for the World 100. It’s just a tough area of racing.
Layne: A big part of the racing lore in this area is of all the great races between the Boggs and Conleys. That started with your dad and Delmas Conley and has carried on today with yourself, Delmas, R. J., and Rod. I know from being around both you and the Conleys that it’s a rivalry with a lot of mutual respect. What’s your thoughts on all of the great races you have had with them throughout the years?
Boggs: Well, there’s only one Boggs and three Conleys. I had to get tough quick. At one time, they’d run me in the infield and try to rip my tires out trying to outrun me. But now they understand that I’m for real and it’s all chilled out now. We used to tear up a lot of race cars though. All of that made me have to get tougher quick.
Layne: SOS is a track that you spent a lot of time competing at early in your career. Between now and then, the track has changed configurations slightly. How much different is racing on the current configuration compared to the old configuration?
Boggs: When we first started racing there it used to be a lot higher banked, or at least it seemed to be, especially in turns three and four. But it’s basically the same Southern it’s been all along. It still has the dip in it coming off of turn four and the same long straightaways. I remember the first time I ever raced there I let off the gas middle way’s through the straightaway because they were so much longer than what I was used to. But right now, the track is more racey than it’s ever been. You can pass. Used to the track would rubber up and get locked down and one groove. It doesn’t seem to be doing that now, it’s a good race track.
Layne: You have one of the largest fan bases of any drivers in our region. Everytime you won a race last year, the fence was flooded with fans cheering as you came out of the car in victory lane. How cool is that to have so much fan support?
Boggs: It’s great. I really appreciate all of my fans. I try to always be sure to take the time to talk and spend a moment with them. That’s what it’s all about, being there for them and the kids. I give all of my trophies to the kids and have even given trophies away to school classes. I think it’s all about how you treat people with getting a good fan base, and I’ve always tried to treat people good.
I seem to have a lot of kids that are fans. I think that’s because I’ve always tried to treat them well, and I think the McDonald’s sponsorship helped too with the kids. If I see a kid around, I’m not afraid to put them in the car and let them sit in it. I remember when I was a kid, Fred Dillow and some other guys would take time to talk to you, but a lot of guys wouldn’t. I’ve just always tried to make sure to take the time to talk to them.
Layne: You are a former winner of the Southern 100. What would it mean to you to be able to win that race again this season?
Boggs: We’ve won that race before, it’s just a good feeling anytime you can win a race with as much prestige as the Southern 100.
Layne: What are your plans and goals for the 2012 season?
Boggs: Run what I can. I have four kids and I have to take care of them first. The main thing is to be ready to race and just go out there and go fast, turn left, and see how it goes. That’s all you can do is be ready and be prepared.
Layne: Who all do you have to thank on your 2011 season?
Boggs: I want to thank my family as well as Marty and Tammy Walker, Kenny Hemman, Jim Raygoza, and my crew guys Jeff Davis and Bill Chaffins. If it wasn’t for Marty Walker and Kenny Hemman I’d have such a bad motor program that everyone would be wearing me out. Those guys helped me get on the right track. You wouldn’t of known this, but I had five different camshafts in my motor at SOS testing. It’s tough to get the right combination, so that’s what you have to do. I also have to thank my sponsors Swartz Race Cars, Hoosier Racing Tire, and Walker Racing Engines.