TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1 2008) – While Bob Tasca III’s holeshot loss in the second round of the NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka was a tough one for the rookie driver, he was able to gather enough points on the day to move into the top 10 in championship points.
“As a driver, losing on a holeshot is the worst thing that you can to for your team,” said Tasca. “The guys gave me a car that could win and I got beat. It happens. It wasn’t a terrible light, but it wasn’t good enough. With the margins of victory that we’re dealing with, there’s no room for error.”
Tasca’s second round loss came against Gary Scelzi, who had a .081-second reaction time to Tasca’s .100.
“We had a great qualifying weekend and moved into the top 10 in points, which is ultimately where you need to be to run for this championship,” said Tasca. “We continue to move on down the road. You can’t dwell on the loss. You can’t look back; you’ve got to look forward. You always wish that you could have it back. You just don’t want to lose on a holeshot. You don’t ever want to lose, but as a driver, that’s the worse way to lose.”
Tasca’s win the first round of eliminations came against his best friend, Tony Pedregon, where he posted a .017 reaction time off the line.
“We had a great run against Tony with a great reaction time,” said Tasca. “I think that kind of played into my head the second round because it was really good for me. I just didn’t want to red light, but I guess it’s probably worse to red light than to lose on a holeshot. That played in my mind a little bit more than it probably should have.
“But winning against Tony in the first round was really neat. He’s a champion in this sport, so any time that we get to race him and get the win, is just really great. He is one of my dearest friends. You know, you can count your best friends on one hand, and for me, Tony is the first one.”
Despite the earlier than expected exit from the race, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane/Custom Accessories Shelby Mustang team did achieve some team firsts for the weekend. They earned their first No. 2 qualifying position, and for the first time, won the Full Throttle NHRA Pit Crew Challenge for the weekend, which awards a payout to the team in each class with the top-performing pit crew for the weekend.
“I’m really proud of my guys and how hard they are working,” said Tasca. “It’s exciting for them that they were able to win the Full Throttle award for the weekend. They gave me a consistent car every time down the track this weekend, so it’s great for me to see them get rewarded.”
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series competes again next week with the running of the 11th annual Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals June 5-8, marking the 10th race of the season.
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Tasca moved up to 10th in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points after entering the weekend in 12th.
– Tasca made it to the second round of eliminations after beating Tony Pedregon for the second time this season.
– Tasca lost to Gary Scelzi in the second round on a holeshot. It was the first time this season the rookie driver faced Scelzi.
SUNDAY RACE RUNS:
· Elimination Run No. 1:
o TASCA: 4.939 ET / 309.06 mph
o PEDREGON: 6.199 ET / 150.16 mph
· Elimination Run No. 2:
o TASCA: 4.983 ET / 296.83 mph
o SCELZI: 4.997 ET / 298.14 mph (Holeshot win)
· Qualifying Run No. 3: 5.002 ET / 298.34 mph
· Qualifying Run No. 4: 4.983 ET / 287.60 mph
· Qualifying Run No. 1: 5.000 ET / 280.89 mph
· Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.901 ET / 305.91 mph (Best run of the weekend)
– 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.