NORWALK, Ohio (June 28, 2008) – With only two qualifying runs on Saturday to earn a spot in Sunday’s 16-car field, Bob Tasca III earned the No. 4 qualifying position in Norwalk and will face Tony Bartone in the first round of eliminations.
“These are pressure-packed days when you go to a track after losing two rounds of qualifying on Friday,” said Tasca. “You really have to fall back on your confidence to make the right call going into Saturday morning. All 18 drivers that showed up this weekend were capable of qualifying, and we just needed to go out, do our job, and get into the show.”
The rookie driver put down two solid qualifying runs in the heat at the Ohio quarter-mile, with a 4.994-second, 281.83 mph run the first time down the track that put the rookie driver fifth heading into the second run of the day.
“To go out and run a 4.99 in the heat, feels really good,” said Tasca. “I’m just so impressed with Chris [Cunningham, crew chief] and the guys, because they’re able to analyze what the car did and make the right decisions. It’s amazing, because the decisions that we make to make the car run faster are miniscule in the big picture. You’re talking about a couple of grams there, and a degree or so here. They are minor refinements to the car, and Chris is very disciplined on being able to make those minor refinements so we don’t go out and smoke the tires.”
With new Goodyear tires on his Shelby Mustang, Tasca’s second run resulted in a 4.932-second, 303.64 mph run, which put him in the top quarter of the field.
“On that last run, we had the new Goodyear tire on the car,” said Tasca. “It’s a tire that we have to be running by Denver, and we decided to run it here to see what it would do. We’re very happy with the data that we collected on it on a hot track.”
Sunday’s first round will mark the second meeting between Tasca and Bartone. The two previously competed in Houston, with Bartone earning the round win.
“We’re going into Sunday as the No. 4 qualifier and with two solid runs behind us,” said the rookie driver. “That spot puts our team in a position to win. I’ve been saying this all year; we just want to give ourselves a chance. As long as the crew does their jobs, Chris does his job, and I do mine behind the wheel, all we can do is let destiny take its course. I feel really confident with where we stand here in Norwalk.”
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Tasca will make his 11th start of the season this weekend in Norwalk
– On-line voting continues for the JDRF-themed car design that will appear on Tasca’s Funny Car at the U.S Nationals in Indianapolis. Everyone is encouraged to visit www.jdrf.org/ford and made donation vote for their favorite designs for Tasca’s car.
– Currently, the online JDRF contest has raised $3,771 since voting began Monday.
– On Sunday, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories team will host a group of kids from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation from the Norwalk area. For each round Tasca wins on Sunday, Ford Customer Service Division will make a donation to the national JDRF chapter.
– Tasca is running a full season and for 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
– Tasca began putting together his nitro Funny Car team in November 2007, for debut at the 2008 Winternationals at Pomona in February. Tasca didn’t have an employ or a racing part until the end of November, and earned his license in the last testing session before the start of the season.