Atlanta, Ga. – Bob Tasca III clocked his career-best elapsed time to qualify No. 2 in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car Saturday at the NHRA Southern Nationals with NASCAR Sprint Cup Crew Chief Donnie Wingo looking on.
Tasca drove to a 4.074-second finish at 308.57 during the last qualifying run of the weekend to launch three spaces to No. 2 from the fifth qualifying position. It was his best qualifying performance to date in 2011 as Wingo, who directed rookie Trevor Bayne to victory at the Daytona 500 in February, watched from the starting line. Bayne drives the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.
“I’m real proud of my whole team,” Tasca said. “(Crew Chief and Co-Crew Chief) Chris (Cunningham) and Marc (Denner) and Tommy (Leskovan, team leader), hats off to them. We’ve been through some crap, more or less, this year and have paid our dues to say the least. Coming into this race, Chris told me ‘I’ve never learned so much as I have this season.’ Now it’s time to show it. We’ve been working hard on every part of this race car and to run three great passes in a weekend is just what we needed.”
Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang team turned in the low ET for both the first and last qualifying sessions at Atlanta Dragway.
“We just really, really, really flexed the muscles of this Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang,” Tasca said. “As a driver, this is what you dream about. Getting a car as good as this car and putting the whole team in position to win. We’ve got to go out tomorrow and get past the first round. You can never count out that first round.”
Tasca’s ‘One Ford’ teammate John Force qualified No. 1 with a 4.072 at 310.98.
Wingo was as close to the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car as a person can be without driving as Tasca went quicker than he’s ever gone.
“Donnie got the opportunity to see the Motorcraft/Quick Lane car win Daytona, and see the Motorcraft/Quick Lane (Funny) car run an .07 with the heat still on the track,” Tasca said. “That’s a pretty good run to make.”
“I thought it was cool being there,” Wingo said. “It looks like he’s going to have a pretty good car on race day. That’s the main thing.”
So now that he’s seen the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car in action close-up, is he ready to dive under the hood and crew chief the car?
“I think I’ve got a little bit more learning to do on that,” Wingo said. “It’s something I’ve always loved, drag racing, but being at NASCAR races every weekend, I could never go. Being on the starting line and seeing Bob’s run was pretty cool. Maybe I can bring him some luck.”
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