INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31, 2008) – Bob Tasca III began Sunday at the U.S. Nationals without a recorded qualifying time for the race, and with only two trips to 1,000 feet on the day to change that.
With 10 drivers competing for the final four open qualifying positions, Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang team put together two great runs in the heat to earn the No. 15 qualifying spot for Monday’s race. That position pits him up against Cruz Pedregon for the third time this season.
“Our team performed today when our backs were against the wall,” said Tasca. “This was a big day for us at the biggest race of the season and with one of the largest fields that we’ve seen all season. Also today, we saw probably some of the toughest conditions that we’ve seen all year. It just goes to show you the character of our team, that we were able to go out and compete under pressure and run solidly in the heat.”
Monday will be Tasca’s first U.S. Nationals in a nitro Funny Car. The rookie driver competed the past two seasons in an alcohol Funny Car, where the he made it to the finals in both of those appearances.
“This is an exciting race for everyone competing tomorrow, but especially for our sponsors, Motorcraft and Quick Lane,” said Tasca. “They put together a great program with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and we’ve got Sam Millard’s winning design on our car and we’re hoping that translates into a winning car on Monday.
“I’m just thrilled with how our guys performed today, and the decisions that Chris [Cunningham, crew chief] made,” said the Rookie-of-the-Year candidate. “He’s got such tough decisions to make in order to get these cars go down the track on any day, let alone on a hot day like today. But we’ve got some great data for tomorrow, so as far as I’m concerned, bring on the heat.”
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
CAREER/2008 SEASON: TASCA VS. C. PEDREGON
Monday’s first round will be the third meeting between Tasca and C. Pedregon.
Tasca is 0-2 against Cruz
Chicago Tasca: 5.276 Cruz: 4.992
Norwalk Tasca: 5.005 Cruz: 4.929
Qualifying Run No. 4: 4.202 ET / 289.69 mph (Qualifying run)
Qualifying Run No. 5: 4.207 ET / 291.19 mph
Qualifying Run No. 3: 4.567 ET / 190.65 mph
Qualifying Run No. 1: 4.441 ET / 207.43 mph
Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.558 ET / 198.47 mph
– Tasca is competing this weekend with a special Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) wrap on his Shelby Mustang this weekend, designed by six-year-old Sam Millard from Greenville, Texas.
. Sam Millard’s design was chosen as the winner from over 300 designs that were submitted from kids with type 1 diabetes. The online contest for the car designs raised more than $84,000 for research for type 1 diabetes.
– The rookie driver is 12th in the championship standings
– 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.
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.