Tasca, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Team Qualify p13, Draw Johnny Gray in Round 1

READING, Pa., Oct. 6, 2012–With two even lanes and weather conditions that make drag racers salivate, it’ll be anyone’s race at Maple Grove Raceway Sunday.

Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car team qualified p13 with a 4.091-second pass at 304.12 mph – but this weekend, qualifying on the bottom of the ladder will not damper drivers’ excitement for Sunday, Tasca said.

He takes on Johnny Gray and his Don Schumacher Racing Dodge in the opening round of eliminations.

“It’s been an exciting weekend here at Maple Grove,” said Tasca, who won this race in 2009 and was a semifinalist in Reading last year. “We knew coming in that the conditions would be record-setting. We got a little bit behind the eight ball on Friday in that first round, smoking the tires, so we had to be a little conservative Friday night with that 4.12 run. We didn’t want to be on the outside looking in going into Saturday. We made a very solid run in Q3 with a 4.09. In the last session, we really tried to go after it and we just overpowered the track.”

Tasca also made his Top Alcohol Funny Car debut at Maple Grove, a track known for the perfect weather conditions it often serves up. Since narrowly missing the NHRA Full Throttle Series playoffs, the Countdown to the Championship, Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have had one focus – to be fantastic spoilers. They’ve succeeded so far, winning the second race of the Countdown (Dallas).

“This sport teaches you that there is a very fine line and balance between making it and not making it,” Tasca said. “You saw a lot of cars that ran good Friday that smoked the tires all day today, and that’s because you just keep trying to push to find that edge. We pushed a little bit too much in that last qualifying session, but conditions will be awesome tomorrow. We got a lot of solid data between all the Fords out here and I feel very confident going into elimination round 1.

“The only disadvantage about starting at the bottom of the ladder is you don’t have lane choice, but when you’re at a track where lane choice doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t matter when you qualify. You just have to go out and put a good run together. The driver’s got to leave on time and hopefully get the win light. Going against Johnny Gray, a Countdown car, it would be great to send a DSR car home early.”

Watch all the action from the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway from beginning to end, from qualifying to eliminations, in one broadcast from 6-10 p.m. ET Sunday (Oct. 7, 2012) on ESPN2, or watch live on ESPN3.

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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