Gainesville, FL., March 14, 2010 – Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang team hoped to have their first back-to-back Gatornationals victory on Sunday, but a dropped cylinder in the finals prevented the team from celebrating for the second consecutive year.
Tasca faced technical alliance teammate Tim Wilkerson in an all-Ford final on Sunday afternoon. As a result of the dropped cylinder Tasca’s run to the finish line was 4.192 seconds at 287.17 miles per hour compared to Wilkerson’s 4.097-second pass at 303.78 miles per hour.
“As defending race champ, our expectations were high and we came out looking to repeat our win from last year,” said Tasca. “Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang ran great and did what we wanted it to do, other than in the final round. Running the finals against Tim was great. Wilkerson has a tremendous group working for him and I’m happy for them.”
It was a weekend of progressive improvement for Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team. The weekend began when rain showers canceled one of the qualifying session on Friday. During his first run late on Friday, Tasca shook the tires and posted a time of 8.455 seconds at 77.18 miles per hour, which put the team in the 15th qualifying position.
Determined to make the top half of the field, Tasca, crew chiefs Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner and the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team went to work on Saturday to post two solid qualifying runs. With ideal weather conditions, Tasca showed his power in the second qualifying session by running a 4.138-second pass at 306.33 miles per hour. Tasca was third quickest of the session and moved from 15th to eighth in the qualifying order.
“The decisions that have to be made to make these Funny Cars go down the race track and compete for a championship is amazing,” said Tasca. “Chris and Marc did a tremendous job on Saturday and worked hard to get everything right for us to strong and race ready on Sunday.”
For the final qualifying run, Tasca improved again with a 4.107-second pass at 306.81 miles per hour. That final pass seeded Tasca in the seventh position for Sunday’s elimination rounds where he would face Phoenix race winner Jack Beckman.
Tasca defeated Jack Beckman, Robert Hight and Ron Capps before racing Tim Wilkerson in the finals. During his semi-final run against Capps, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang was a handful for Tasca.
“That semi-final run was a wild ride,” said Tasca. “We had the front wheels off the ground and the clutch locked up, but we were able to beat Capps to the line.”
Today marked the first time Tasca and Wilkerson raced each other in the finals. Tasca defeated Wilkerson during the second round of Gainesville in 2009 and was looking to repeat that performance but a dropped cylinder prevented Tasca from crossing the finish line first.
“We put a cylinder out in the finals against Wilkerson,” said Tasca. “In Nitro Funny Car racing, dropping a cylinder is one of the gremlins that you face. I knew it was out because my Mustang was almost in the wall. I had the steering wheel turned all the way to the right and I just hung on to keep it straight.”
With just three races of the 2010 season under their belts, Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team have reached the semi-finals twice and the final round once. Tasca has qualified in the top-eight for two races this season.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the track on March 26 at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC, for the Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Points
1. John Force, 280; 2. Ron Capps, 226; 3. Jack Beckman, 219; 4. Bob Tasca III, 205; 5t. Robert Hight and Matt Hagan, 181; 7. Tony Pedregon, 180; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 177; 9. Ashley Force Hood, 149; 10. Del Worsham, 128.
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