HOUSTON, April 29, 2012–With six Funny Cars in the NHRA Full Throttle Series field, Ford match-ups come race day are unavoidable. Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car faced two of them in Houston – one a win against mentor John Force in round one and one a loss against Robert Hight in the quarterfinals.
Hight came into Houston on a four-race winning streak, looking to make history and continue the John Force Racing shutout the team has carried on since winning the season-opener with Force. Meanwhile, while a John Force Racing car has made it to every winners circle this year, Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has also shown strength all season, especially in qualifying. And once again, it looked like the victor on Sunday could just be Tasca.
Instead, the winning Ford wasn’t Tasca…or Hight, or Force. Instead, it was Mike Neff, who struggled in qualifying and was the recipient of two lucky round wins, who extended John Force Racing, and Ford’s, Funny Car winning streak to six.
Tasca breezed by Force in the first round with his best run of the weekend, a 4.111-second pass at 309.49 mph to Force’s 4.673 at 186.51. Then he faced Hight. Tasca’s 4.175 at 305.70 was the second-best pass of the hot and humid round, but the driver with the best lap? That was Hight, Tasca’s opponent. Hight advanced on a 4.139 at 307.09 before falling to Ron Capps in the semifinals. Neff defeated Capps to win the Wally trophy.
“In the sport of drag racing, that which doesn’t break you will make you stronger,” Tasca said. “It was a tough day for us. When you go out in that second round and you’re running Robert Hight, you know you’ve got to put a big number up on the board. That’s what we did. It was a good old drag race. I had a (.021-second advantage) on the tree, he had a couple on the track and that was the difference at the finish line. But when you lose in the second round and you would’ve beaten every other driver, you just raced the wrong guy at the wrong time.
“Hats off to my team. We had a big first-round match-up against John Force. There’s no easy match-ups in this sport, but when you qualify third, one of the last people you think you’re going to race is John Force, 15-time champ. But to come out, beat John, put up a great run against Robert, and put a lot of points up against a lot of the people around us, we’ve just got to carry this momentum and keep swinging.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Series heads to Atlanta this weekend, May 4-6, 2012.
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.
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