Engine Explosion in Final Qualifying Session for Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang Racing Team – Tasca to Start Eighth in Indianapolis

Bob Tasca III
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford Shelby Mustang

Nitro Funny Car class
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series

CLERMONT, IN – September 6, 2009 – Sunday showers delayed on track action at the 55th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Looking for their third win of the year, Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team were eager perform on the most historic track on the circuit.

55th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
O’Reilly Raceway Park September 2-7, 2009
Race 18 of 24

Late Sunday afternoon the Funny Car teams would make their fourth and final qualifying pass of the weekend. Tasca and Del Worsham ran side-by-side until the 330-foot marker. Then the tires on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang began to spin, cylinders dropped and the engine exploded.

“First I want everyone to know that I’m okay,” said Tasca. “Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang made three really strong runs this weekend. The guys were getting after it. We wanted to try to improve on the 12 we ran last night, the conditions were certainly out there. I don’t know what happened, certainly something in the valve train. They’ll have to evaluate it. When it blows up like that, typically it drops an intake valve or something with the valve train, because the valves don’t get closed and the cylinder fires and it explodes the nitro that is in the manifold and the supercharger.”

Tasca compared this incident to the engine explosion in Reading just two weeks ago.

“It was certainly violent. It was very similar to what happened to us in Reading, except on a bigger scale,” said Tasca. “It did a lot of damage to the body and a lot of damage to the motor. These guys will be working here late, but we’ll be ready for tomorrow.’

“There is clearly something going on that the guys need to get a handle on,” continued Tasca. “When it knocks the tire off, the driver naturally steps off the throttle and our car has never been sensitive to blowing the blower off – never. Obviously, there is something going on. Chris and the guys will figure it out. We have to re-group a little bit just like we did in Maple Grove.”

”Truthfully, if I blow up every Saturday night and win the race, like I did in Reading, then I’ll sign up for that all season long,” said Tasca. “At the end of the day, this team has proven they can work through these types of challenges like we did two weeks ago in Reading, and that is what our sights are set to do here at Indy – to win the race.”

Tasca’s best pass of the weekend took place under the Saturday evening sky. Tasca took his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang to the 1000-foot marker in 4.126 seconds at 302.69 miles per hour. This effort would seed Tasca in the eighth qualifying position.

Tasca will face technical alliance teammate Tim Wilkerson in the Sunday’s first elimination round.

Qualifying Order Funny Car
1. Robert Hight, 2. Ashley Force Hood, 3. Mike Neff, 4. Cruz Pedregon, 5. John Force, 6. Del Worsham, 7. Jerry Toliver, 8. Bob Tasca III, 9. Tim Wilkerson, 10. Jeff Arend, 11. Tony Pedregon, 12. Jim Head, 13. Ron Capps, 14. Jack Beckman, 15. Matt Hagan, 16. Grant Downing.

Did not qualify – Bob Bode and Justin Schriefer
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Monday, September 7: ESPN2 HD will televise a special one hour NHRA Race Day at noon (ET).
Monday, September 7: ESPN2 HD will televise five hours of eliminations coverage at 1 p.m. (ET).

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