JOLIET, Ill. (June 6, 2008) – It was a day of continuously changing weather conditions at Route 66 Raceway, but after the rain, wind, and heat, Bob Tasca III grabbed the provisional No. 8 qualifying spot for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals.
“It’s just Chris Cunningham playing with the race car now,” said Tasca of his two qualifying runs on Friday. “It’s like we’re having fun with this tune-up where before, we were trying to build on momentum. Now we’re just trying to learn different things.”
The driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories Shelby Mustang’s first pass of the day came under extremely windy conditions, and resulted in a 4.856-second, 315.93 mph run. Tasca’s second time down the quarter-mile came under cooler conditions, and put the rookie eighth with a 4.820-second, 320.05 mph pass.
“The 4.85 that we ran in the heat was the second best out here, which is the conditions that we’re going to see the rest of the weekend,” said Tasca. “We’ve only had a couple of real good shots at a track that was that good with the conditions we had. The air here is good and the track is tremendous.
“We tried something on that second run, and it ate itself up a little bit,” said the rookie driver. “Really, it was a seven-cylinder pass, so to run 4.82, 320 miles an hour on seven cylinders, is pretty stout. It’s just getting the fuel curve right and the engine happy in these conditions, and we learned so much on the last run. But now we move on to Saturday and we’re going to be faced with a hot track, and we’ve got a lot of data under those circumstances.”
Friday’s first run was one of the first for Tasca to be made with extreme wind to take into consideration.
“I can feel myself developing more and more as a driver with one of these things,” said Tasca. “As it moves around, I feel myself reacting quicker and better. It was probably 30-plus mile an hour winds, and I kept asking Chris, ‘Will they cancel this?’ Because I’ve never run in conditions as bad as that, but truthfully, you go so fast, and the car is moving around when there’s no wind out, so I don’t think you notice a lot of difference out on the run. When the chutes come out is really when you notice it. The parachutes hit harder, it grabs the car and wants to move the car left to right. It’s just learning as a driver how to react in those conditions. That was pretty cool. In the first run, I did more driving after the finish line than I did before the finish line.”
Tasca will have two more qualifying runs on Saturday before the field is set for Sunday’s 11th annual Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– FRIDAY TIMES:
– Qualifying Run No. 1: 4.856 ET / 315.93 mph
– Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.820 ET / 320.05 mph
– Tasca is provisionally eighth heading into the second day of qualifying at Route 66 Raceway.
– This weekend will be the first time that Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories will host a group of kids from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation from the Chicago area. For each round Tasca wins on Sunday, Ford Customer Service Division will make a donation to the national JDRF chapter.
– 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.