THIRTY-SIX YEARS AFTER FIRST NATIONAL EVENT, TASCA III REMEMBERS BOB GLIDDEN AS FORCE THAT DREW HIM IN; STILL TAKES HIS ADVICE
DEARBORN, Mich. – It’s amazing how vivid the memories of a 12-year-old boy can be.
Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car, remembers everything about his first trip to an NHRA National event. His seat in the bleachers. The electric atmosphere of watching burnouts up close.
But at 12, he wasn’t much into drag racing. Sure, he understood his family’s connection to Ford Motor Company and the sport. He admired photos of his grandfather Bob Tasca Sr.’s driver, Bill Lawton. But at that age, it was soccer that the third-generation Bob Tasca loved.
Until he waited in line for 20 minutes to get Bob Glidden’s autograph and for the first time, realized the weight of his grandfather’s reputation. It was the first time he realized his grandpa – who at 27 years old opened a Ford dealership and proved the ideals behind his business so successful he was regularly tapped to train other dealers - was famous. It was Bob Tasca Sr. who not once but twice changed the course of Ford in NHRA Drag Racing.
“I introduced myself as Bob Tasca, and (Glidden) got up off of the stool about six inches,” said Tasca III of Glidden, a legend in Ford’s racing family who this year is crew chief for the 19-year-old Pro Stock rookie Buddy Perkinson. “He took me into the pits and took me under his wing.
“I remember everything about it. It was an impact moment.”
Thirty-six years later, that soccer player is now a professional drag racer with a few impact moments on the track to his credit – many of them at Gainesville, Fla., where he won his first race after qualifying No. 1 in 2009, and was the runner-up in 2010. He returns to the Central Florida track when the NHRA Full Throttle Series comes to town for the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals March 10-13.
Now in the fourth year of his career, it would be only natural to thank the strong threads of loyalty, conviction and willingness to work hard Tasca III got from his grandfather for his success. And he does - but he also credits Glidden.
“He’s such an inspiration,” said Tasca III, who spent a few years under the tutelage of the Glidden family and remains close friends with them. “Long before I met (15-time Funny Car world champion) John Force, Bob Glidden could walk on water to me. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. He’s old-school – he talks the talk and walks the walk. You don’t always find that.”
It seems everywhere he goes, Tasca III always has a friend close by. It was the Tasca family that brought Force, the defending NHRA Full Throttle Series Funny Car champion, into the Ford fold. Now the two are ‘One Ford’ teammates.
Now Tasca III’s kids can name every driver in the NHRA Full Throttle Series, and Tasca III still recalls Glidden’s advice.
“He’s told me so many things through the years, but the biggest thing is never look back,” Tasca III said. “The highs are highs, the lows are lows…Never look back, look forward.”