DENVER, July 18, 2012–NHRA Funny Car drivers can calculate points almost faster than the four-second runs they use to earn them.
Take Bob Tasca III, for instance. Tasca, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang, can tell you what position he’s in (No. 6 this week, moved up two spots from Norwalk) and exactly – to the number – how many points he is out of fifth place (he trails Johnny Gray by 106 points, or approximately five rounds on Sunday, not including qualifying or bonus points).
He can also tell you how many points it would take for No. 7-10 to catch him. Five races remain in the regular season before the NHRA Full Throttle Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin. The top 10 drivers in the points after the legendary Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis Labor Day weekend are playoff contenders, and are thus eligible to win the 2012 championship. After the “Big Go,” the points reset and drivers who don’t make it become spoilers.
Even though the playoffs aren’t until September, every driver wants to climb as high in the points as he/she can – if anything to give his/her team peace of mind in a difficult stretch of the schedule.
“Basically, we’re 100 points out of the top half of the field and 100 points (away from being bumped out of playoff contention),” Tasca said. “It’s a pivotal time. From a team standpoint, I say this a lot, but it’s true. In five years, I’ve never had a race car that has been as strong as the car I have now.”
Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have qualified in the top five at nine of 12 races so far in the regular season, a stat that shows how brilliant the car can be but hides the inconsistencies that have dogged the team all year. While relying on one strong run to qualify isn’t exactly rare in drag racing, it takes four strong runs (or four doses of luck) to win on Sunday. No one wants to rely on luck.
“Norwalk showed us some real promise in how the car ran on Sunday, and ultimately that set us up with a little bit of momentum,” Tasca said. “This year versus last year is a world of difference. With the talent we have and a car that has qualified extremely strong at every event this year…we’ve been picking up consistency the last couple of races on hot tracks.
“I’m excited. I’m always excited going into a race, but this year I’m excited because I believe more now than ever before that I have the best car I’ve ever had and I have more experience now as a driver than I have in past years. It’s a good place to be headed into a pivotal part of the season. It’s all about peaking at the right time. We’re strong and getting stronger and that’s the trend we want to keep.”
For live updates, follow the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby 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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