JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2008) – After a long day of rain and tornado watches, NHRA racers were able to sneak in two full rounds of qualifying on Saturday, with Bob Tasca III earning the No. 12 qualifying position for Sunday’s race. The driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories Shelby Mustang will face Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations.
“We face Cruz Pedregon, which for me is kind of neat because it is the first time I’ll run him in eliminations,” said Tasca. “His car was the first Funny Car I ever drove. I made some licensing runs last year in Las Vegas in that car. They’ve got a great group over that and it’s going to be a tough first round.”
After earning his spot in Sunday’s race with a run on Friday night, Tasca and the team used both of Saturday’s as testing sessions.
“We had three great runs out here in qualifying,” said Tasca. “On that last run, again, we were just trying out some things. We tried a few different things; it didn’t work. It shook the tires real, real hard and it hasn’t done that in a long time. But we learned from it. We learned a pretty significant directional issue with some things that we were trying.
”Going into Sunday, we’re going to go back to the runs that we made in heat, the .82 and .85 that we made. Those are the runs that are going to get you the trophy on Sunday. But we’re ready, the team’s ready, the car’s ready and I’m ready to roll into Sunday.”
Following Tasca’s second run of the day, Tony Pedregon’s car caught on fire before making hard contact with the right side barrier. Pedregon, Tasca’s closest friend, was able to walk away from his second fiery crash of the season.
“That’s the reality of this sport and nothing else really means anything when you see one of your best friends, or any driver out here get into a situation like that,” said Tasca. “It puts everything into perspective. At the end of the day, we’re here to race and to put on a show for the fans, but we also have to go home too. We all have families and it’s just tough to see.”
Sunday’s start in the Route 66 NHRA Nationals will be the ninth for the rookie driver this season.
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– SATURDAY TIMES:
– Qualifying Run No. 3: 4.876 ET / 316.90 mph
– Qualifying Run No. 4: 10.153 ET / 90.18 mph
– FRIDAY TIMES:
– Qualifying Run No. 1: 4.856 ET / 315.93 mph
– Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.820 ET / 320.05 mph (Best run of the weekend)
– Tasca earned the No. 12 qualifying spot for Sunday’s race.
– On Sunday, the Motorcraft, Quick Lane, and Custom Accessories team will host a group of kids from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation from the Chicago area. For each round Tasca wins on Sunday, Ford Customer Service Division will make a donation to the national JDRF chapter.
– 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.