READING, Pa., Sept. 28, 2011 – The word ‘eyelash’ seems harmless enough – something you flick off with a finger. It’s not something most people think about, that is, until it’s the margin you miss by.

In Round 2 of the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang Funny Car team lost to Cruz Pedregon by the slimmest of tuning margins. The Mustang smoked the tires at half-track en route to a 4.625-second finish at 248.61 mph to No. 1 qualifier Pedregon’s 4.239 at 294.88, one of only two clean passes that round.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team was looking to duplicate a 4.154 at 300.86 they’d run in the fourth and final round of qualifying under similar conditions, which would have been more than enough to get them to the semifinals.

“At the end of the day the car missed it by an eyelash,” Tasca said. “When we overlay the data, we compare it from run to run, you’re walking on a razorblade when you’re driving one of these cars and when you’re tuning one of these cars. The difference between running a 4.15 and a 4.63 is an eyelash. The car lost traction, I pedaled it, I got it to recover, probably as quick as I’ve ever done in a car, and went out there and ran 4.63.

“Cruz had a decent run going with that 4.23. Good news is the points leaders went out early. We moved up in points. We could not have afforded another first-round loss. Period. So we at least keep our championship hopes alive going into Maple Grove.”

Tasca moved up two positions in Dallas, from ninth to seventh. Every point is critical in the six-race Countdown to One NHRA Full Throttle Series playoff Series and pressure is mounting for every team and driver in the hunt for the championship.

This week the team heads to Reading, Pa. for the third race of the Countdown to One and the third of three races in three weeks. With temperatures in the low 60s and ample oxygen from the trees that surround the scenic facility, teams have yet another shot at setting records.
There he will play host to honorary crew member J.B. Bissinger III, 18, a student at Pennsylvania College of Technology. Bissinger is a member of The Ford Asset Program with an internship at Fred Beans Ford Dealership in West Chester, Pa.

Tasca, who lives in Cranston, R.I., is happy this final race of back-to-back-to-back events is at a track he thinks of as one of his home venues.

“I love racing at Maple Grove. I’ve won there in my alcohol car. I actually won the Richmond final at Reading, believe it or not,” Tasca said. “We rained out and we ran the finals at Maple Grove. It’s a track where I made my debut in a Fuel car. I’ve won in a Fuel car. I’ve done very well there in an alcohol car. Love the fans. Love the area. Can’t wait to get there.

“Clearly, the ante’s been raised. We’ve got to come out of Maple Grove with a final round or a win to keep our championship hopes alive. But moved up in points, so it was a good thing.”

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