Infinenon Raceway Sears Point
Western Swing An Endurance Race: Tasca And The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Ready For Battle In California Wine Country
The famed Western Swing is a favorite journey for most of the NHRA Full Throttle Series family. The three-races-in-three-weeks hop is as steeped in natural beauty as it is challenges for the crew chiefs and drivers of the world’s fastest motorsport.
The Western Swing is the endurance race of the NHRA Full Throttle Series season, the toughest of the miles. It’s a long grind across the Western U.S. that ends with a quick “vacation” in the resort town of Brainerd, Minn. before dumping teams off at the biggest event of the year –the “Big Go” in Indianapolis.
The difference in conditions between the first stop, Denver, and second and third stops, Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle, are vast and over time crew chiefs deftly switch from the first to the next to the last with the comfort of years of data under their belts. But the month of July still presents its challenges, no matter how experienced the team.
This weekend Tasca, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang Funny Car, will compete in the NHRA Nationals July 29-31, 2011 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Every driver stays race-ready in different ways. This year, like they did last year, Tasca, wife Terri and sons Bob IV, himself a budding NHRA drag racer, Austin, “crew chief” of his older brother’s junior dragster painted just like his dad’s Funny Car in Motorcraft and Quick Lane red, white and blue, Cameron and Dylan turned the long stretch into the best road trip of all.
The family drove from Denver to Sonoma, making stops along the way – including a two-night stop at Glenwood Springs, Colo. where they whitewater rafted and spent time in a hot springs pool.
The weather was beautiful, Tasca said. The perfect way to relax and prepare for another race. And now it’s time to get back to work at the track. Tasca, Crew Chief Chris Cunningham and Co-Crew Chief Marc Denner have an eye on qualifying higher in the pack.
“It’s crunch time,” said Tasca, who qualified No. 1 with a career record-setting run in Bristol, Tenn. “We certainly have not put together the consistency that we’ve hoped for on Sunday. Denver is totally an odd-ball race. Odd-ball conditions, unlike anything else we see all year. We won’t carry much from Denver to Sonoma. In Sonoma, we’ll see conditions more like we’re used to.
“We’ll fall back on a lot of the data we have (in Sonoma), what we have experience with. We’ve had crushing losses this year. Really close races that just aren’t going our way. At races like Denver, we’ve just been too aggressive and struck the tires. We really didn’t give ourselves a chance to do well.
“It’s about qualifying in the Top 3. Putting ourselves in a better position for Sunday, then making better decisions. We’ve been more aggressive this year than in years past to give ourselves an advantage, but that hasn’t materialized on Sunday. We’ve got a lot of confidence. We have the best parts money can buy with these Ford engines, so it comes down to qualifying better and making the right decisions on Sunday.”