Tasca III - Ford interview

Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car, is so involved with the family dealership his grandfather Bob Tasca Sr. founded he even checks his company e-mail between NHRA Full Throttle Series qualifying rounds on the computer he has set up – right next to his firesuit – in the race hauler. The Tasca Family’s dealership recently won the highest award given by Ford to dealerships – the Triple Crown Award. It is given only to dealers in the top ½ of 1-percent nationally. They dedicated it, and the phenomenal year that earned it, to Bob Sr., who passed away early last year. They are the first dealership to win in New England.

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

Photo by: Ted Rossino

DID YOU REHEARSE IN YOUR MIND HOW IT WOULD GO IF YOU WON THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY TRIPLE CROWN AWARD? “This was an award that, quite frankly, was a surprise to us. We were competing for the President’s Award, which is the highest customer satisfaction award that Ford gives a dealer. It’s something that was really special to my grandfather, and it was an award that we literally missed winning over the last couple of years by tenths of a percent of customer satisfaction. It’s a very competitive award, very difficult to win, and it was something we wanted to do in memory of my grandfather. What surprised us was that when we actually found out we won it, we also had won a Sales leadership award, which Ford identifies the largest volume dealers in the country, and we also won a Parts leadership award, which we’ve never done in the history of our company. For many years we won the President’s Award for customer satisfaction, and we’ve always been a leader in sales in the nation, but we never were big in the parts business. This is something I’ve gotten involved with by being sponsored by Motorcraft and something I’ve focused on over the last several years, and we’ve grown our parts business to become one of the largest parts operations in the nation. What we didn’t even realize was when you win all three in the same year, Ford had their most prestigious award, which is called the Triple Crown. I can tell you it was a pleasant surprise for our family. We’re obviously very proud of our team. It’s something that has never been won in Southern New England before, and I know if my grandfather was here he would’ve been very proud of our organization.

HOW IMPORTANT WAS CUSTOMER SERVICE TO YOUR GRANDFATHER? “It was everything. ‘You will be satisfied’ was his motto. It’s what he built his business on. Even back in the ‘60’s, he looked at customer satisfaction and his pay plans, how he incentivizes people. We’re all geared towards customer satisfaction. It meant everything to him.”

YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS ALL ABOUT LOOKING FORWARD. WHAT WILL YOUR GOAL BE NOW? “My grandfather didn’t spend a lot of time counting up the number of awards he won last year. He was very worried, very focused on what he was going to do next year. I think my dad said in the speech that he gave to our team; it’s terrific to win something like that. I guess you could call it a national championship at a dealership level, for Ford and Motorcraft, but what would be most important to my grandfather would be to do it again in 2011. Victory is sweet, but in our sport anyway, you can go from zero to hero and hero to zero, so it’s about what you do at the next race; it’s what we do with our dealership in 2011 that will continue to define our team and the success of our company.”

We’ve improved our qualifying over the last couple of races, but we just haven’t put it together on Sunday.

Bob Tasca III

HOW DOES THAT PHILOSOPHY TRANSLATE, FOR YOU, TO YOUR NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES DRAG RACING CAREER? “It’s about being part of a winning team. At the dealership level, it’s about competing against the best Ford dealers in the country, and putting yourself in the half of one percentile is a pretty tremendous accomplishment. On the race track, it’s winning a championship. That’s the only reason why we’re out here. We’re off to a slow start, but then again, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. Robert [Hight] did it; he got in to the No. 10 spot [in 2009] and won the championship. We don’t want to get in in the No. 10 spot. We want to put ourselves all the way at the top of the ladder before the Countdown and put ourselves in position to win the Championship. That’s the only reason why I’m out there. Charlotte needs to be a turning point. We got to get our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car going from point A to B on Sunday. We’ve improved our qualifying over the last couple of races, but we just haven’t put it together on Sunday. So, no excuses. Not acceptable. Chris [Cunningham, Crew Chief] and the guys know that, and I feel very confident that we’ve got a race car that’s got the parts that can go up there and win the races. The Ford teams have done incredible, with Robert winning two and Mike [Neff, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang] winning one. Me, John [Force, driver of the Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang] and Timmy [Tim Wilkerson, driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang] now, we’ve got to get our hot rods to run the table on a Sunday, and I feel very confident that we’ll put ourselves in a position in Charlotte to do just that.”

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE FOUR-WIDE RACE STYLE OF zMAX Dragway IN CHARLOTTE? THE CHRISTMAS TREE IS CHANGING THERE THIS YEAR. WILL YOU TAKE NHRA UP ON THE OFFER TO CHECK THOSE OUT IN ADVANCE? “Yeah, I’ll check it out in advance. It’s something the drivers recommended. I think it was Ron Capps, actually, that came up with the idea. Makes sense to me. It’ll simplify the tree. I really didn’t have a problem with it last year. I truthfully feel your level of concentration to stage is going to be what it’s going to be. You have to have complete concentration, and once you hit the throttle, whether there’s three cars next to you or one, I think it doesn’t change much. At the end of the day, I’ve said it all along – if the fans love it, and the place is sold out, I’ll go eight-wide. I really don’t feel it’ll play a big role in who wins or loses the race.”

-source: ford racing