GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2008) – With the pressure on and with only two chances on Saturday to make it into Sunday’s Gatornationals, Bob Tasca III qualified his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang in the 12th position, and will make his second NHRA POWERade Fuel Funny Car start of the season at Gainesville Raceway.
“This was a high-pressure day,” said Tasca, referring to having only two qualifying runs after Friday’s sessions were canceled because of rain. “Whenever you only get two runs to qualify, it’s really a crapshoot because these cars are designed to get four runs under your belt. To go out and run the fifth quickest pass in the first session in the heat, which is what I think the conditions will be tomorrow, is really encouraging. “
Tasca’s two qualifying runs came under much different track conditions, with the first and quickest run coming in the high heat, and the second happening under heavy cloud coverage.
“We qualified 12th overall, but when you judge for the conditions that I think we are going to have tomorrow, we really have a better tune-up on the hot track than we did on that last pass under the clouds.
“You always want to improve off of your first run, because that’s the whole strategy of getting a baseline. So after the first run, we hopped the car up a little bit and it was charging really well at halftrack, but then it made a move. I think a little bit came from catching it late, but also the wind has played a huge factor here. The car wouldn’t recover and come back into the groove, and I got real close to the centerline. But, there was no need to ruin the body or hit a cone, so we shut it off early.”
After not qualifying for the last event in Phoenix, Tasca and the team tested right after Phoenix, and then again earlier this week in Valdosta, Ga. to get ready for this weekend.
“A lot of the cars that didn’t qualify today didn’t test in Valdosta, so that testing session was really important for us. We’re building this team for the long term and we’ll do whatever it takes to be successful. If it requires us to test twice as much as the average team, then that’s what we’ll do. I feel strongly that we would not be qualified if we hadn’t tested in Valdosta. We’re happy with where we’re at and we’ll make the right decisions for tomorrow morning.
“We’ve got a lot of people here from Motorcraft and Quick Lane this weekend and to put down a good run is good for them and good for our team. We have the new midway display out here and with all the dealers and the executives from Ford that are here this weekend; we’re just thrilled to have qualified for this race.”
Tasca will face Jim Head, who qualified fifth, in the first round of Sunday’s 39th annual NHRA Gatornationals.
News/Stats at a Glance:
– Sunday’s Gatornationals will be Tasca’s second nitro Funny Car start this season.
– Tasca made it the second round in Pomona, but failed to qualify at Phoenix.
– Qualifying run No. 1: 4.927 ET, 319.45 mph.
– Qualifying run No. 2: 5.075 ET, 245.32 mph
– Tasca will face Jim Head in the first round of competition
– Tasca is running a full season and competing for 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year honors