- Likes racing at Las Vegas
- No records expected due to heat
- Attended last shuttle launch
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the SummitRacingEquipment.com NHRA Nationals. Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car talks about getting back behind the wheel after two weeks off and what conditions he’s expecting to see in Vegas.
BOB TASCA – driver, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car
WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT GOING INTO LAS VEGAS?
“Two weeks away from drag racing is like an eternity. I’m looking forward to getting back to racing. I love racing at Las Vegas. It’s just an awesome facility; an awesome environment. But most important, one of the things we do is start looking at the weather. As race car drivers and teams, you start to strategize a little bit on what to expect when you get to Las Vegas, because conditions there – I’ve been there when it’s been 50 degrees, and I’ve been there when it’s been 91 degrees. This weekend it looks like it’s going to be 91 degrees. From my standpoint, you won’t see national record conditions out there, but clearly this is a whole new ballgame. We haven’t seen temperatures like this (yet this year). We’re going to see track temperatures as hot as we’ve seen all year. Certainly our hot rod has always run great in the heat. I’m excited about getting back to racing. I think the conditions are going to be a big equalizer out there, when you see track temperatures that are going to creep up around 130 degrees. It’s clearly a race that I can’t wait to get to. Particularly being two weeks off.”
WE’VE HAD WHAT AMOUNTS TO A FULL SEASON OF WEATHER SO FAR THIS YEAR. HAIL AND COLD IN POMONA, SPRING WEATHER IN GAINESVILLE, AND NOW WARM WEATHER IN LAS VEGAS. CAN YOU REMEMBER THIS EVER HAPPENING?
“It’s very unusual. I’ve been to Pomona when it’s literally almost snowed, like it did this year. I’ve been to Gainesville, where it’s been really hot or really cold, but never in the same year like this. So certainly the crew chiefs have their work cut out for them, particularly going into Las Vegas. As the tracks are cooler, it’s easier to apply the power. As it gets hotter, it becomes much more of a science, and much more of a, almost tip-toeing down these race tracks when it gets as hot as it’s going to be in Las Vegas. But that’s what makes our sport very exciting. That’s what I think makes so much parody among the classes. Although Ford’s got both wins this year, the competition, the level of racing, has just been incredible at the first couple of races of the season, and we’re just getting started. It’s only going to get more and more competitive as the season goes on.”
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THE MOTORCRAFT/QUICK LANE FORD SHELBY MUSTANG IN THIS SUMMER-LIKE WEATHER?
This Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang has flexed its muscles when the conditions have been most challenging.
“I expect a lot from our hot rod. We ran great in the heat (last year). We’re starting to really, really run better on the cool tracks. Coming out of Gainesville we had the biggest mph’s that I’ve ever had in my career. We know we make good power in these Ford BOSS engines, but clearly this Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang has flexed its muscles when the conditions have been most challenging. Obviously we’ve got a lot of good data to fall back on, and we’re hopeful we’ll come out of Las Vegas with a win.”
YOU WERE INVITED TO THE FINAL SHUTTLE LAUNCH BY YOUR FRIEND, ENDEAVOUR COMMANDER MARK KELLY. TELL US ABOUT IT.
“I got a challenge for myself out there. We made that announcement that I was invited by Mark Kelly and his family to watch the shuttle (Endeavour) take off, which I’m really excited about. I’ve become really friendly with Mark and his family through the sport of drag racing and a lot of tours to the Johnson Space Center, and we’ve had Mark and his brother Scott, who is the commander of the (International) Space Station, out to the Houston race multiple times, so they want to invite me to their neck of the woods to show me what they do behind the wheel of that space shuttle. So being the last shuttle launch, with Mark Kelly as the commander, and certainly our hearts go out to his wife, US Representative (Gabby) Giffords (D-Ariz). After the terrible tragedy and shooting in Arizona, I said to Mark, ‘If I win, I’m going to dedicate the win to you and your family and bring you the trophy to Cape Canaveral. I’ve only got two more shots to do that – Las Vegas and Charlotte, so hopefully this Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car can deliver on my promise and we can bring him a Wally to Cape Canaveral. But either way, I’m looking forward to spending a little time with his family and watching that last shuttle mission take off.”