READING, Penn. (Aug. 15, 2008) – Friday night qualifying at Maple Grove Raceway was just what Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang team needed. The rookie driver and his team grabbed the provisional No. 7 spot on the first day of qualifying for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals.
“That was a huge run for us tonight,” said Tasca of his 4.144-second run to 1,000 feet. “When you’re the first and second pair of a session, you’re at a huge disadvantage, because you don’t get a chance to see what the track can hold. So for Chris [Cunningham, crew chief] and the guys to give me a tune-up that ran 4.14 down the track, is just a remarkable job by my team and a great way to start the weekend. It’s a morale boost for the entire team to roll into Saturday in the top half of the field.”
For Tasca, it’s been since the race in Englishtown in June, that the rookie driver has been qualified heading into Saturday.
“We went nine or so races in a row with earning a qualifying spot on Friday, and now it’s been like five races that we haven’t had a spot starting on Saturday,” said Tasca. “But the pressure is off, and if we want to try something and go for it tomorrow, we can. With 20 cars out here, to qualify No. 7 is really exciting. I’ve said all along, this team can win. We’ve proven that we’re contenders out here, but we’ve got to win to get in to the top 10, so that is our attitude between now and Indy.”
Tasca entered this weekend’s race 11th in championship points, and with two races left before the final 10 drivers in the points are locked in, the rookie and his team are on a mission to win.
“We feel as though we are controlling our own destiny to some extent, because the chance of [Jack] Beckman and [Mike] Neff falling off aren’t good, but their chances of winning in the next two races, are just as good as our chance,” said Tasca. “We can see how the cards play out, but at the end of the day, this is a great run for our team and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Qualifying Run No. 1: 4.758 ET / 173.78 mph
– Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.144 ET / 295.72 mph
– The rookie driver is 11th in the championship standings, 79 points outside the top 10.
– 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.