LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2008) – It came down to the last qualifying run of the weekend, but Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang team earned the No. 12 qualifying position for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. The Rookie-of-the-Year nominee will face defending series champion, Tony Pedregon, in the first round of eliminations.
“We were having luck similar to what we had in Richmond there for a little while, but we’re coming out with a whole lot happier ending,” said Tasca after solidifying his spot in the 16-car race field. “This is just an exciting weekend for our whole program. We announced our two-car alliance with Tim Wilkerson for next year today, and then our team pulled together to get this Motorcraft/Quick Lane car in the show.”
After his first pass to 1,000-feet didn’t go exactly planned for the rookie driver, Tasca and his Crew Chief, Chris Cunningham, made some changes to their Mustang and laid down a 4.096-second, 306.88 mph run in their final pass.
“Chris and I talked about what we wanted to do to the car and what the conditions were going to look like, and a 4.09 was exactly what we dialed in for,” said Tasca of his final run. “We knew that we would be safe with that, and it’s a great baseline for tomorrow morning. We ran our fastest half-track speed that final run at 265 mph, and our speed at the final line was almost at 307 mph, so to look at that booming miles per hour, it shows the power that we’re making.
“To not qualify, isn’t an option for us,” said Tasca. “To not to give ourselves a chance on Sunday is unacceptable. Coming off of not qualifying in Richmond and having two weeks to stew over it, that’s just the worst thing for a driver and a team; to sit on the sidelines for two weeks after such a tough DNQ in Richmond. But we’re looking forward. I knew that we had a great hot rod this weekend. We’ve got a group of JDRF kids coming out tomorrow, and we’re going to try and put on a good show for the fans.
Sunday’s first round will be the fourth meeting between Tasca and Pedregon, with the advantage going to Tasca with a 2-1 record. The event will also be the 21st start of the season and of his career in the NHRA nitro Funny Car class.
NEWS/STATS AT A GLANCE:
– Qualifying Run No. 3: 5.467 ET / 130.96 mph
– Qualifying Run No. 4: 4.096 ET / 306.88 mph (Qualifying Run)
– Qualifying Run No. 1: 4.134 ET / 303.64 mph
– Qualifying Run No. 2: 4.138 ET / 303.16 mph
– Tasca is one of five drivers in NHRA pro classes that are up for Rookie-of-the-Year honors for the 2008 season.
– 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 33-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.