NORWALK, Ohio (June 29, 2008) – A first round win was what Bob Tasca III needed in Norwalk, and that’s just what the rookie driver captured to maintain his spot at 10th in NHRA championship points.
Tasca beat Tony Bartone in the first round of eliminations before falling to Cruz Pedregon in the second round.
“We’re staying 10th in the points, and that’s what matters,” said the driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories Shelby Mustang. “It was an important first round for us because a lot of the guys around us in the points won their first rounds.”
With both Tasca and 11th-place driver, Del Worsham, exiting the race after the second run of the day, nine points now separates the two drivers, while 54 points is the distance between Tasca and ninth-place driver, Mike Neff.
“Going out in the second round is frustrating, because we ran so well in the heat this weekend. We had cloud cover and the track started cooling down for the second round, and all of that changes your strategy and philosophy. It shows, somewhat, of our newness to this racecar, because we don’t have data on this car from past races at these tracks. It went from a 93 degree first session to a second session where it was raining with cloud cover and then the sun came out. I truly feel that if the track had been 93 degrees that second run, we would have had a much better chance.”
The second meeting between Tasca and Pedregon was the second between the two drivers this season. The two previously competed in Chicago, with Pedregon earning the round win. Tasca’s run was 5.0005 ET, 291.82 mph to Pedregon’s 4.929 ET, 300.46 mph run.
“Nine out of 10 times, [Chris ] Cunningham [crew chief] will tell me what the car is going to do, and it usually does it. The guy is that good. For our second run, we put more of a tune-up in it, and we were trying to run a 4.95. I tip my hat to Cruz; he was second low of the session. He had a great light, and had me by a little bit out at the line. Their team made the right call under the conditions that we had.
“We were hoping to run a 4.95, and that’s where the frustration comes in, because it didn’t run that. We’ll check over the data and see why it didn’t run what we expected. You just have to learn from these things. There is no run out here that’s wasted. Every run is more data that we have for the next race. When the pressure was on and we needed to get that first round win, we did what we needed to do to keep us in the game and in the top 10.”
Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories team have next week off before heading into the ‘Western Swing’, with three-straight races in Denver, Seattle, and Sonoma.
“I feel very confident that the ‘West Coast Swing’, will define the championship,” said Tasca. “There will be a couple of races after the Swing before we get to Indy, but the next three races in a row are going to define, in my opinion, the top 10 cars. We’re closing the gap on [Mike] Neff in the No. 9 spot, we’re 54 points behind him, and that’s just a race or two that you can make something like that up. So we’ll see. There’s no loss of confidence with us, and we plan to be solidly in this 10-car field before we get to Indy.
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Tasca made his 11th start of the season this weekend in Norwalk
– Tasca’s win in the first round on Sunday earned $500 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s national chapter. Ford Customer Service Division donates $500 for each round Tasca wins at events where the team hosts local JDRF kids on race day.
– $4,4446 in donations since June 23! 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.
– 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 employee or a racing part until the end of November, and earned his license in the last testing session before the season-opening Winternationals.
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. Tasca is also a third-generation Ford dealer from Rhode Island.