EPPING, N.H., June 22, 2014 — Bob Tasca III’s first qualifying run at the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway was his best and a front wheel fell off. The weekend went downhill from there, ending with a first-round elimination at the hands of Tommy Johnson, Jr., 4.127 seconds/312.64 mph to 4.767/190.14.
“We knew Tommy Johnson was going to go out there and run a 4.10 or 4.12,” said Tasca following the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang’s elimination. “It’s what he did yesterday and what he did today. We were trying to run a 4.10 or 4.12 and maybe eight out of 10 times the set up will make it. On that run it didn’t make it. We just pressed too hard.”
Although the New Hampshire drag strip is Tasca’s home track, the Rhode Islander felt anything but comfortable behind the wheel all weekend.
“We came here, gave it our best shot and it wasn’t good enough,” he said. “The team wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. Nothing was good enough.
“It wasn’t our weekend,” Tasca continued. “Nothing went right, but everything ended up OK. We had two serious events that could have been catastrophic so we’ve got to be very thankful for that. These cars live on the edge of a razor blade. We’re pressing because I’d rather smoke the tires than get blown off.”
Tasca’s first potentially catastrophic incident happened in the first qualifying session while posting his best run of the weekend, 4.221/278.92.
“We had an engine failure first, which over-pressurized the oil tank and cracked it,” Tasca explained. “That put oil on the left rear tire and got us into the wall. I was able to save it but in the process of doing that, the right front spindle sheared off. It was a part failure, no one’s fault. Fortunately I was able to get the car back in my lane before anything bad happened.”
During Friday’s second qualifying session, Tasca lost his steering while on a 5.453/128.73 run that ended with the Mustang Funny Car scraping along the wall.
“The car was flat-bedded back to the pit after the first run and in the midst of all the pandemonium that took place, one of the senior guys on the team put the bolt in the steering shaft but never put the nut on,” Tasca said. “The car made a great run until about 280 feet. When I had to start making some steering inputs there was no steering. At that point I was along for the ride.”
Tasca’s qualifying woes continued on Saturday in the third session when he smoked the tires at the start line and registered no time. In the fourth session, Tasca ran 4.722/174.12 to secure the 13th starting position and an appointment with Johnson in round 1.
“Even though we had our struggles this weekend, we went into Sunday with good data from the first and last qualifying runs that we thought we could use to make adjustments and surprise some people. It didn’t work out.”
The next stop for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the 17th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., near Chicago, June 26-29.
For live updates, follow the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang team on Twitter (MQL_Racing) and Facebook (click on the “Twitter” icon). Follow driver Bob Tasca III on Twitter at @Tasca3 and Facebook.
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Now headquartered near Charlotte in Concord, N.C., Tasca Racing was founded by Legendary Ford dealer Bob Tasca, Sr., in Rhode Island in 1962, after he realized the incredible potential of “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” during drag racing’s infancy. At 16 years old, Bob Sr. started his first job at a Ford dealership. He opened his own Ford dealership at 27. Seventy years later, Tasca Ford still exists, run by the second and third generations of the Tasca family. Bob Tasca III, grandson of Bob Sr., has led the racing branch of the family since 2008 as driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car. When he’s not involved with his race team, Bob III works at the family dealership. The Tasca family is proud to say more than 50 years after Tasca Racing was founded, the phrase “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” is alive and well within the Tasca team.