DEARBORN, MI – March 28, 2010 – Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team were looking forward to a solid on-track performance this weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC.
Tasca’s weekend started strong during the opening four-wide qualifying effort. Tasca took his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang down the track at 4.179 seconds with a top speed of 262.74 miles per hour. That first run on Friday would be Tasca’s best qualifying effort, seeding him in the 14th position.
During Sunday’s eliminations, Tasca faced Jack Beckman, John Force and Tony Pedregon. In what would be one of the closest races of the weekend, Tasca was just a little short at the finish line in order to advance. Of the four drivers, Jack Beckman and fellow Ford Mustang driver John Force advanced to the second round.
“We had some trouble getting the clutch dialed in this weekend,” said Tasca. “In the first round, our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang made a good pull down the race track. We dropped a cylinder after two seconds of our run. Then it picked itself back up, which it really does at three seconds, and that really hurt our Mustang. We probably would have gone a 4.10, but it wasn’t good enough to beat Force’s or Beckman’s runs.”
Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team made five passes in the four-wide format at Charlotte. Last week, Tasca was eager to race four-wide and yields to NHRA and the fans for the future of four-wide racing at other tracks.
“If the fans love it, I’ll go eight-wide,” said Tasca. “To me, this sport is all about the fans. The fans are the reason why we are here and the reason why the sponsors invest in us. With that said, as a racer – I would prefer one-on-one, two-lane racing and the traditional staging strategy. But if the fans love it, let’s go four-wide. We’ll wait and see what the fan feedback was from the race. It was a different kind of racing, but even so, you still have to cut a light, get the car from A-to-B and put the win light on.”
Crew chief Chris Cunningham echoes Tasca’s preference of two-lane racing.
“There is too much going on at once for everyone to appreciate what we do in NHRA,” said Cunningham. “I guess you can call me nostalgic because I think we should only run two cars. From my perspective, our Mustang was hard to tune because there are numerous things to think about to make sure it makes it down the track fast. Tuning is even more challenging when you don’t have lane choice because you’re wondering what lane you’re going to race. If you don’t have lane choice, then you have to look at all four lanes. Lane choice doesn’t make that much of a difference here because it is so cold. If it was hotter and the sun was out, lanes three and four wouldn’t be nearly as good as one and two. It’s all fairly equal right now, but that’s not what caused us to not do well today. There’s just a lot going on for everybody – for NHRA, the fans and teams.”
The weekend did have some positive news for Tasca and the Ford camp. On Saturday, Ford Racing and John Force Racing announced an extension of their partnership. As part of the extension, Ford and Force have agreed that their joint development programs will now be available to other Ford teams in the sport with JFR acting as a supplier to other team operations. The new “One Ford” approach focuses on all Ford sponsored teams having the same availability to the technology and development, thus making all Ford teams more competitive. For Tasca Racing that means access to the Ford BOSS 500 engine.
“We announced this week a technical collaboration with John Force Racing,” said Tasca. “Second to signing my contract to go racing, this is probably one of the biggest announcements in our program. Last year, I signed a contract extension with Ford. Yesterday, John signed a contract extension. On Monday, we’re putting in a lot of the components and pieces from the Ford technology in our Mustang and we’re going to start testing the BOSS platform. I’ve always said I’m an all-Ford kid and we’re going to have an all-Ford hot rod starting on Monday, which I’m looking forward to starting.”
Although Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team’s weekend was cut short, Tasca sees the big picture and he looks to regain momentum at Houston in two weeks.
“You have to manage the highs and lows of NHRA racing,” said Tasca. “In this sport, you don’t win every race – nobody does, and you don’t win every round. You have to keep a positive outlook. I think this is the maturity of me as a racer. I get pretty dejected when I lose, but I’ve got to look beyond that. The next race is always around the corner and we have the opportunity to win. We’ll slip a little bit in the points here, but it’s real early in the season. We’re going to fight it out to Indy and then we’re hopefully going to be in the top-10 and run for the championship.”
Rain cancelled the final round of Sunday’s Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Concord, NC. Racing resumes Monday morning at 11am.
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