Tasca vs. Wilkerson in Round 1 after Ladder Shuffle at Rescheduled U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 8, 2012–Four days ago, Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car team prepared to take on Tasca’s best friend in Round 1 of the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

Tasca qualified 11th to Pedregon’s sixth – but persistent rain that plagued qualifying at the NHRA Full Throttle Series’ “Big Go” unleashed a torrent on race day that flooded the pits. The race was rescheduled and NHRA re-opened qualifying, adding two laps to the schedule.

Two opportunities for the elimination ladder to change. Change it did.

Six teammates face each other in Round 1 of the rescheduled eliminations tomorrow at Lucas Oil Raceway, including Ford teammates Tasca and Tim Wilkerson, both of whom would love to secure their spot in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Tasca, 10th in points, improved his qualifying time to 4.091 seconds from last weekend’s 4.107, yet fell from 11th to 13th in the line-up. Wilkerson also dropped a place, from third to fourth.

Toyota teammates Jeff Arend and Alexis DeJoria face each other on the same side of the double-elimination style bracket, while Ron Capps will take on his Dodge teammate, reigning Funny Car champion Matt Hagan, on the other side. Like Wilkerson, Hagan came into this last race before the playoffs outside the top 10 looking in. Unlike Tasca and Wilkerson, however, Hagan and Capps would have faced each other had the race happened Monday.

In the last six months, Tasca’s 2012 season has stacked up exactly like 2011 did for the fifth-year pro driver. At this time last year, Tasca was 10th in the NHRA Full Throttle Series point standings, ready to defend his playoff spot at the biggest race of the year – the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.

He battled all the way to the finals and left with a runner-up finish and the number eight spot in points. This year, once again, he’s 10th in points and looking to go rounds.

“This Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang made two solid runs today,” said Tasca, who drove to a 4.185 at 303.91 in the first lap of the day. “We never like to run another team Ford car in the first round, especially with Tim trying to fight to get into this top 10, but it is what it is. We’ve got to go rounds to stay alive in this top 10 fight. With two rounds like we ran today, I’ve got a lot of confidence in (Crew Chief) Chris Cunningham, (Co-Crew Chief) Marc Denner and this whole Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.”

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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