CHANDLER, Ariz. – After smoking the tires during his first run, and experiencing a throttle problem in his second, Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center team will not make their second nitro Funny Car start in Sunday’s NHRA Nationals as Tasca ended up the 17th driver in a 16-driver field.

“Not a good situation,” said Tasca after his final run of the day. “Our car shook and I pedaled it, but we had something fail with the throttle. When I stepped off of the throttle at the finish line, it was still wide open. I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been afraid in one of these cars, but when you’re going over 300 and your foot is off the throttle and the car is still accelerating, that gets your attention. Fortunately for us, the parachutes both came out.”

Tasca pulled into the shutoff area of the track following his second run with a crack across the top of his Shelby Mustang and smoke coming from underneath.

“It ended up blowing the blower off of the car, which stopped the engine. We’ve got to figure out why it did that. My crew chiefs are going over the data to find out what went wrong. But regardless of that, the car shook and that was really the end of our weekend.”

Rain cancelled both scheduled qualifying runs for Friday, leaving the Shelby Mustang team only two runs on Saturday to make the race.

“Obviously, for a new team, not to have Friday was a big disadvantage for us. But no excuses,” said Tasca.

“During our first run we smoked the tires. In theory, you shake the tires because you don’t have enough power, and it was pretty apparent that we didn’t have enough power. In retrospect, we probably should have just left it alone and we probably wouldn’t have smoked the tires the second time. We de-tuned it a little bit and that just wasn’t the right call.”

Despite the trouble Tasca had, setting the final field came down to the very end of qualifying as Tasca sat on the bubble before getting knocked out by .059 of a second.

“I think we got bumped by a 5.10 and we had a 5.16. Ashley Force, Del Worsham, and a lot of other big-name teams didn’t qualify, but that’s racing. We move on to Gainesville. We just keep going. It’s hero to zero in this sport and just a tough deal.”

Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Shelby Mustang team head to the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. March 13-16 for the third event of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

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