COMMERCE, Ga. (April 27, 2008) – The day started and ended with racing a friend for Bob Tasca III at Atlanta Dragway. The driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang earned himself a spot in his first semi-final of his nitro Funny Car career after facing his best friend Tony Pedregon in the first round, Gary Densham in the second, and mentor and hero, John Force, in the third round,
“To run Tony Pedregon and John Force and make it into the semi-finals with this new team, is just really, really tremendous,” said Tasca. “But, we come to every race wanting to win, so when you don’t, you’re disappointed. But when you look back at our program that we just started in November, to move into the 11th position coming out of this race is just great for the team and my sponsors. After today, we believe now, more than ever, that we can win.”
Tasca’s semi-final round against Force was the closest round he ran all weekend, with both drivers having identical reaction times, but with Force having an edge on time by .003 of a second.
“It’s hard to describe the adrenaline that flows through you,” said Tasca after his loss to Force. “You get these tremendous highs of next round, next round and winning and winning, and then when you go out and lose, it just takes a lot of the wind out of your sails. But then you get an opportunity to reflect back and look at what we’ve accomplished, and I think that this weekend, we’ve made it known worldwide, that when we pull into a race, we’re a contender.”
With a consistent car all weekend, Tasca accumulated enough NHRA POWERade points to put him one point outside of the top 10 heading into next week’s event in Madison, Ill.
“With what we did in Vegas, and now this weekend, we’ve got a lot of momentum heading into next week. Seat time is what I need; it’s just really valuable for me. I’m so proud of my team and Chris Cunningham. It’s just absolutely incredible what he’s done with this team. I can say this beyond a reasonable doubt, that God blessed me with that man. Because at the end of the day, as a driver, I will get better because of the confidence in the racecar, and it starts with Chris and it goes on down to every one of the guys on the team. At the end of the day, we reflect on what we did this weekend. I’m just so proud of my team and we’ll be ready for St. Louis.”
Tasca and the rest of the stars of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will head to Gateway International Raceway May 2-4 for the seventh stop on the 24-race schedule.
FIRST ROUND VS. PEDREGON:
“He [Pedregon] is my best friend. He’s done a lot for me to get me where I am today. He’s given me so much advice and help. He’s got No. 1 on that car for a reason. He’s one of the baddest Funny Car drivers that’s ever driven a car.”
SECOND ROUND VS. DENSHAM:
“This is just unbelievable. For Chris Cunningham and my guys, this is just incredible. That’s a Ford hot rod driven by a Ford kid and we’re going to the semi-finals.”
THIRD ROUND VS. FORCE [ended in the sand]:
“We’ve been fighting parachute cable problems all weekend, and brake problems. As crazy as it may sound, the brakes in this thing aren’t right. We’ve got to fix it. Chris will figure out what’s wrong. We snapped a parachute cable in the first round, but the car didn’t run 317 mph. And at 317 mph, that was the seven or eight feet that I needed to get this thing stopped. One chute came out late and the other chute didn’t deploy, and I could have kicked it sideways, but I didn’t want to roll the racecar. Getting into the sand didn’t do any significant damage; it’s nothing that we can’t fix. Just a few battle wounds on the body.”
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Tasca moves up to 11th in the series’ standings, one point out of 10th position.
– Tasca faced Tony Pedregon, Gary Densham, and John Force for the first time this season.
– Sunday Stats:
– Elimination Round 1 vs. Tony Pedregon: Tasca: 4.859/305.49 Pedregon: 5.380/205.16
– Elimination Round 2 vs. Gary Densham: Tasca: 4.861/315.12 Densham: 4.891/308.07
– Elimination Round 3 vs. John Force: Tasca: 4.848/317.64 Force: 4.845/312.93
– Tasca is running a full season and for 2008 NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year honors
ABOUT THE DRIVER:
Bob Tasca III is a 32-year-old rookie in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing nitro Funny Car class. Tasca competed the past three seasons in the Alcohol Funny Car class and is also a third-generation Ford dealer from Rhode Island. Tasca began putting together his nitro Funny Car team in November 2007, for debut at the 2008 Winternationals at Pomona in February.