Veteran small-tire racer and perennial powerhouse Manny Buginga did everything at Lights Out 11 but don the famous leather winner’s hat.
The Bridgewater, Massachusetts racer twice reset the X275 national record during qualifying, taking full advantage of the near and, at times, below sea-level atmospheric conditions in his Disomma Racing Engines-powered Mustang featuring a Precision turbocharger, pushing the popular radial-tire class into new performance waters.
During the third session of qualifying, Buginga unloaded a 4.229 at 173.52 mph to reset the class standard and position himself atop the raceday field at the season’s most prestigious event. Reiterating his mission throughout the weekend to record the first X275 pass in the four-teens, Buginga and company pressed their Mustang, recording low elapsed time of the first four rounds of competition, headlined by another national record-setting pass of 4.220-seconds at 172.45 mph to defeat Brendan Mills in the quarterfinals.
In a throw-down finale with Rob Goss, who had the second-quickest car all week long, Buginga was even first out of the gate, but both he and Goss overstepped the tune-up and struck the tires — Goss collecting it up quickest and reaching the stripe first, 4.53 to 4.59.
Buginga will return next month, along with the nation’s fastest X275 machines, for the third rendition of the Sweet 16, and he will undoubtedly enter as the favorite to put the class into the four-teens.