GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 11, 2008) – It’s been two weeks since the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has competed, but it’s been a productive two weeks for Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang team as they utilized the time off to test and prepare for this weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals.

After not qualifying for the race in Phoenix, Tasca and the team have participated in two different testing sessions to put together a package to get them into the top half of the field for qualifying this weekend.

“We were really disappointed about not making the race in Phoenix last month. For all of the hard work that this team has put in, to not qualify for a race is as low as you can get in this sport,” said Tasca.

“Our team is very excited to get back to the track and to put together solid qualifying runs for the race. We’re not going to Gainesville to qualify in the No. 16 position; our goal is to be in the top half of the field. Once you do that, anything can happen.”

Tasca and the team tested the day after Phoenix and made three solid passes this past Monday in Valdosta, Ga.

“On Monday we had the opportunity to test at a race track that gave us similar conditions to what we will see this weekend. Valdosta was the closest thing to what we are going to see in Gainesville. We made a few passes there and we’re ready to go here this weekend.”

With the nitro Funny Car class as competitive as it is, the 32-year-old rookie and his team continuously view each event weekend as a series of stepping-stones to make it into the race on Sunday.

“From the No. 1 qualifier to the No. 16 qualifier, anyone can win on Sunday. But you’ve got to qualify and that’s what we’re focused on doing. We hope with what we’ve learned at Phoenix in this last test session that we’ll have a combination within one of the four runs that puts us in the top half.

“Gainesville is definitely a marquee race for NHRA. It’s got one of the largest crowds of any race during the year, and it’s a great place to race. It can give you fantastic racing conditions to really put up some big speed and ET numbers.”

Tasca on Gainesville Raceway:

“Gainesville is going to present different challenges. It’s going to be the best air that we’ll be in so far this year, and we get that good air because that the closer you get to sea level, the more power the engine makes. That’s kind of free, Mother Nature providing a little extra horsepower. The air presents different challenges both in the fuel curve and the clutch, because with more power, you’ll have as hot a race track as we’ve been on. Gainesville can either be 65 degrees or it can be 80 degrees and it looks like the afternoon runs are going to be closer to 80 than they are 65. The track conditions are going to be warm and the motors are going to have good power.”

News/Stats at a Glance:

– Tasca’s best Nitro Funny Car run came in the second round at Pomona: 4.955 ET, 310.63 mph

– Tasca is running a full season and competing for 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year honors

Open for Business:

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane interactive consumer display will debut this weekend in the Manufacturers Midway. Fans can enter to win prizes and participate in the Motorcraft Holeshot Challenge, the Quick Lane Challenge and the Custom Accessories “Instant Win” Game. Tasca will visit the display area each day to set a new holeshot time for fans to try and beat.

Hours of operation:

Friday, March 14: Display Opens 9 a.m. Display Closes: 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 15: Display Opens 8 a.m. Display Closes: 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 16: Display Opens 9 a.m. Display Closes: 3 p.m.

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