BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 9, 2008) – Saturday qualifying at Brainerd International Raceway was crucial for Bob Tasca III, as the rookie driver entered the day without a recorded qualifying for the NHRA Nationals on Sunday.
After two very solid runs in the heat on Saturday, Tasca earned the No. 13 qualifying position, and will face Del Worsham in the first round. Tasca and Worsham have been battling it out in the point standings as of late, with Tasca entering this weekend two points ahead of Worsham, and now, entering tomorrow’s race, Worsham is unofficially two points ahead of Tasca.
“First round tomorrow is I think, without question, our biggest round this year,” said Tasca. “What a momentum shift today was for us after having a tough day on Friday. I’ve said it all year, that that’s what’s so great about this sport. You get to experience so many highs and lows, and to come off of a frustrating Friday night, and I emphasize the frustrating part, our performance today shows that we’re ready for tomorrow and to take on the field.”
Tasca laid down a 4.300-second; 283.01 mph pass the first time down the track to put his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang team in the field. While happy with that pass, but knowing the track could hold more, Tasca’s second trip to 1,000 feet resulted in a 4.242-second, 285.77 mph run.
“I know Chris [Cunningham, crew chief] has been trying some different things in qualifying because of the testing ban,” said the rookie. “In this sport it’s easy to get lost, because you’re dealing with such minor adjustments, and you can lose your way to a certain degree. Obviously, to not run well last night, was frustrating. But to come in today, and get from A to B both times in the heat with very good times, was really what we needed.
“Chris told me today that he doesn’t sleep well at night when we don’t qualify on Friday, and that what he wanted to do to the car came to him at 4 o’clock this morning,” said Tasca. “And it was a pretty dramatic change that we made in the bell housing. We were a little cautious our first run down the track because we weren’t in the show, and we posted one of the quicker times of the session. Chris said that he wanted to run a 4.27 the second time down the track, so to go out and run a 4.24 in the heat going into Sunday, is just a huge confidence builder for the team.”
Tasca and Worsham’s meeting in the first round tomorrow will be the second between the two drivers this year. They previously competed in St. Louis, with Worsham coming away with the round win.
“I’m as much a fan as I am a driver our here, and to see the way the ladder shakes out, it’s almost kind of destiny the way it works out. A lot of the drivers fighting to get into the top 10 are on the same side of the ladder. To lose first round would be devastating to our championship run, no question about that. To win first round and to carry that through a few rounds and pick up the trophy, that would put us into the top 10 solidly, and move us on to Reading. So it’s going to be neat.
“We’re looking at tomorrow’s run as one that could be a defining moment for our championship run, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said the Rookie-of-the-Year contender. “With this being my first year, this is the first time that I’ve ever been faced with something like this, and it’s just exciting to be a part of this run.”
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Tasca earned the No. 13 qualifying position for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
– Tasca is battling to earn a spot in the top 10 in the championship standings. He entered this weekend’s event in 11th place, two points ahead of Del Worsham in 12th. Now, headed into Sunday, Worsham is unofficially two points ahead of Tasca, moving up to 11th.
– Qualifying run No. 3: 4.300 ET / 283.01 mph
– Qualifying run No. 4: 4.242 ET / 285.77 mph
– Qualifying run No. 1: 4.771 ET / 190.51 mph
– Qualifying run No. 2: 4.780 ET / 173.21 mph
– Tasca will make his 15th start of the season this weekend in Brainerd
– 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.