TOPEKA, Kansas (May 30, 2008) – During Bob Tasca III’s second qualifying run down the quarter-mile track at Heartland Park, the rookie driver put a hole out, lost teeth on the blower belt, and had to shut his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang off early. With almost as many problems as he spent seconds on the track, Tasca was able to earn the provisional No. 2 qualifying position with a 4.90 second, 305.91 mph run during the first day of qualifying for the NHRA Summer Nationals.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Tasca on his No. 2 position. “For us, we made a great run this morning that put us in the back of the pack for our second run. We just had such a great feeling heading into this race. This is my first time here and the car ran great, but it made a drastic move to the centerline and we put a hole out. That really, really got my attention to the point that I jerked it back as hard as I could and then it came back.
“We then had trouble with the supercharger belt; it took some teeth off just before the finish line. So I stepped off of it because it was a little bit unstable. Just to have a 4.90 run with a cylinder out, losing a blower belt and jerking the car back and forth to keep it from going over the centerline, is just really great for our team.”
Tasca’s best qualifying position heading into Sundays this season is No. 3, which he earned in Las Vegas earlier this year.
“To go into Saturday as the No. 2 qualifier is just a thrill. More importantly, from my vantage point is how we ran this morning, because those are the conditions that we are going to see tomorrow and on Sunday. We have two runs from A to B and this hot rod is back running with the best of them right now.”
The rookie’s first run of the day came under extremely hot conditions, and resulting in a 5.000 second, 280.89 mph pass.
“Saturday should be interesting, I think it’s going to be good for us to be able to work with the 5.0 run that we made and set ourselves up for Sunday,” said Tasca. “This team has confidence; we’re focused on qualifying well and winning on Sunday. I believe our race is right around the corner. I believe it’s this race. I believe now, that here in Topeka, we have the opportunity to really, really make up some ground in this points chase. And that’s what we’re here to do.”
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
· Qualifying Run No. 1: 5.000 ET / 280.89 mph
· Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.901 ET / 305.91 mph
– This weekend is Tasca’s first visit to Heartland Park
– 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.
TV COVERAGE: ESPN2 & ESPN2 HD (all times are Eastern)
May 31 Qualifying Highlights 5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.
June 1 Race Day 11 a.m.
June 1 Eliminations 4 p.m. -7 p.m.
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center