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Funny Car Driver Bob Tasca III
Funny Car Driver Bob Tasca III

Photo by: Ted Rossino

Motorcraft Quick Lane driver Bob Tasca III returns to the Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis, IN this weekend for the Full Throttle series U.S. Nationals. Tasca reminisces of his first experience at Indy, a race that is unforgettable for most drivers. He also touches on the relationship Tasca Racing has held with Ford Racing and the importance of “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”.

THIS WEEK WE’RE EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF FORD IN NHRA. YOUR GRANDFATHER BOB TASCA SR. CONVINCED FORD TO BECOME INVOLVED IN NHRA AND SINCE THEN THE LIST OF MEMORABLE MOMENTS GOES ON FOR PAGES. WHICH ONE STANDS OUT TO YOU AS MOST IMPORTANT?

“Growing up, I remember listening to my grandfather, Billy Lawton, John Healey, my dad and uncles just talking about what they did on the race track in the sixties. And that was the story, winning the Winternationals, that I’ll always remember.” WHAT SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THAT STORY MAKES YOU REMEMBER IT?

“I think the thing I remember the most was the excitement I heard in their voices when they talked about that Winternationals. Being Pomona and the historic nature of that race track, to win the Winternationals, it’s as cherished today as it was back in the sixties.”

YOU HAVE A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH FORD MOTOR COMPANY THAN ANY OTHER DRIVER. WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF FORD AND NHRA?

“My first thing is ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’. My whole life has brought into perspective the best that NHRA has to offer, and to see how Ford is activating at NHRA events with their midway presence as the official car and truck of NHRA and certainly how they’ve activated on the racing side of their programs, with John Force Racing and my team and Tim Wilkerson, it really is a Gold Standard for that phrase, ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.’ I know my grandfather was so proud of what we put together in a short period of time, but particularly how Ford really believed in the sport of drag racing, got behind the sport of drag racing during a period of time where some people thought the end of the auto industry was on the horizon with the Recession we went through. But Ford never waivered. They believed in the sport, in particular the fans. I was interviewed by Brad Littlefield of National Dragster and he asked me what the one was, four years into it, that caught me by surprise. For me, it was the fans. I wasn’t ready to see their passion to support Ford, to support Tasca. That, to me, whether you win or lose, the fans are the first to come over to you to give you that encouragement and support. I think it really all came together with our program getting involved, and with Motorcraft and Quick Lane, really getting involved with the ‘Sell on Monday’ aspect of the business equation. It’s certainly trickled throughout John’s program and Ford Racing and it’s obviously a tribute to NHRA and the platform they give us to race on. It’s probably one of the most unique racing platforms in the world, with the accessibility the fans have, the teams and the sponsors have to the fans.”

DO YOU THINK THE WAY FORD APPROACHES NHRA IS MOST SUITED FOR ‘WIN ON SUNDAY, SELL ON MONDAY’? DO YOU THINK THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NASCAR AND NHRA?

“Well, I think it’s a very different approach to NHRA on how you basically fulfill that statement, ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.’ Clearly, NASCAR offers a tremendous platform to ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ with the passion and nature of their fans. I don’t think the fans are as accessible as they are in the sport of drag racing. So at the end of the day, it offers our sport the opportunity for hospitality interaction that is unparalleled and fan data capture that’s very unique. It’s different. I wouldn’t say one is better or worse than the other. They both have their own advantages, but certainly drag racing is what I was brought up in. To see the sport even through difficult economic times maintain and be very strong, it positions itself for some interesting growth opportunities as the economy comes back.”

SHIFTING TO INDY, DO YOU REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT THE FIRST TIME YOU PULLED INTO LUCAS OIL RACEWAY PARK AT INDIANAPOLIS AS A DRIVER?

“The first two times I pulled into Indy as a driver, I went to the final round. It was back-to-back final rounds in my Top Alcohol Funny Car. You can’t NOT think about the rich history of Indianapolis. And just to be a part of it is something special, not just as a fuel driver, there’re sportsman drivers. There are drivers in every class that get to race there that know the historic nature of the race. So it’s clearly one of those races that drivers and teams want to win. It’s certainly a win that you’ll never forget in your career. If it isn’t the most prestigious, it certainly ranks right up there with the likes of Gainesville, Pomona and races like that.”

AT WHAT MOMENT DO YOU THINK ‘IM AT INDY, THERE’S NO TURNING BACK’?

“I think for me it’s just landing at the airport. That’s when Indy starts for me. At the end of the day, it’s not a race that we try any harder to win because I don’t think there’s such a thing. We go to every race to try to win. But clearly, it’s a race that you want to do well at. It’s the only race that we race at that we test the week before we run, so it adds a little more preparation to a typical race. But at the end of the day, you have to go out there and do what you do. At any of the 20-22 races that we race at, qualify well and put yourself in a position to win on Monday.”

YOU MENTIONED THIS IS THE ONLY RACE YOU TEST BEFORE YOU RUN, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL FACTOR IN TO THE RACE THIS WEEKEND?

“Whenever you test any race car you learn something. Now you might not always like what you learned, but you’ll learn something. We learned a lot. Unfortunately, some of the areas that we learned will have such a dynamic impact on the car in a positive way that it’s too much to incorporate for Indy. And what I mean by that is, just because you find something that’s really good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to help your car right now. Some of the things that we discovered we just need more testing. There’s always a balance between power and clutch. And if you find a lot more power, then you have to balance the clutch. That doesn’t happen overnight. And if you find something with the clutch, well your motor better be in balance.”

“So we had a very, very good car coming out of Seattle and certainly, into Brainerd. So we don’t really want to change too much from there because we know we have a race car that can win at Indy based on some of the success we’ve had at the last race. So we’re going into Indy with a combination that we’re real comfortable with. However, we did find some stuff in Indy that we’re going to want to work on Monday after Charlotte. We’re going to test Monday after Charlotte, we’re also going to test Monday after Vegas. So nothing that we need to worry about for Indianapolis, but definitely found some things that will pay some dividends down the road.”

“Clearly, we’re going into Indy in the driver’s seat. We’re not necessarily happy we’re going in 10th, but we are certainly in the driver’s seat. We have a 62-point lead over Johnny Gray, and I have a lot of respect for that team and the whole Don Schumacher Racing organization. They’re not going to Indy to lose it, that’s for sure. They’re going to be riding some momentum out of Brainerd with that win. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. If it plays out the way that it should play it out, we’ll roll into Charlotte and be a championship contender. Heck, we could roll into Charlotte, I think, in eighth place with the way the points shake out. We’re looking to move up, certainly not move down.”

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Johnny Gray , Don Schumacher , Bob Tasca III
Tags ford, tasca