Tasca, Wilkerson form 2009 alliance

TASCA AND WILKERSON FORM TWO-CAR ALLIANCE FOR 2009 LAS VEGAS, (November 1, 2008) -- Current NHRA Funny Car points leader, Tim Wilkerson, and Rookie-of-the-Year nominee Bob Tasca III, will bring their two respective race teams together to form a...

TASCA AND WILKERSON FORM TWO-CAR ALLIANCE FOR 2009

LAS VEGAS, (November 1, 2008) -- Current NHRA Funny Car points leader, Tim Wilkerson, and Rookie-of-the-Year nominee Bob Tasca III, will bring their two respective race teams together to form a two-car alliance for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.

Teammates in every sense of the word, the two will pit together, share information and resources, and utilize all-new equipment, including clutch and blower dynamometers that will be housed in the new Tasca Racing shop in Concord, N.C. The only differentiating factor between the operations will be that each team owner will continue to manage their own teams individually and Wilkerson will continue to maintain his race shop in Springfield, Ill.

"I've always been determined to create a championship-caliber program, that's what I've been focused on from day one and what I committed to for Ford Motor Company," said Tasca. "Certainly since we've come through this first year, it's become very apparent that a two-car team is a huge advantage. These alliances aren't taken lightly. There is a lot of thought and a lot of planning that goes into something like this."

"It's something that we've thought through, we've strategized, we looked at the pros and cons of, and I can just tell you that the two teams coming together in ever sense of the word, makes me proud to stand behind Tim Wilkerson and I really feel that we're creating our own little mini empire here and it's going to be a force to be reckoned with next year."

"First I just want to say that I'm really excited about bringing mine and Bob's team together next season," said Wilkerson. "Getting at-track information really seems to be the problem for single-car teams, which really is based on just the timeframe that you have to run your car at the track and the amount of people you have to compare data with. It just seems like you can't get enough data out here. We know that the multi-car teams really have us with our backs against the wall in that aspect, so the discussions we've had through the year with Bob had us thinking it might be a possibility that we could get together for next season."

"We talked about why would I want to do this with him, and why would he want to do this deal with me, and we talked about it in great length numerous times," said the Funny Car points leader. "Bob has a lot to bring to the table on the business side, because he has a lot of contacts and a great business sense, and he's going to be a huge asset to be involved with from my point of view. He's got a great selling point to me that way, and of course my selling point to him is that I'm a veteran racer."

The alliance between the two teams will also include Wilkerson running a Ford Mustang body next season, as well as using a Ford Flex as his team's tow vehicle

"We're very happy Tim has decided to run a Ford Mustang next year and partner with Tasca Racing," said Brian Wolfe, director Ford Racing Technology. "It says a lot when someone the caliber of Tim decides to switch over to our product. We believe this alliance between Tim's and Bob's operations will help both teams be better, and we believe it will help make our Ford presence in NHRA even stronger."

Wilkerson, who is also the crew chief on his Funny Car, will work together with Tasca Racing's current Crew Chief, Chris Cunningham, as well as Marc Denner, who joins the team in 2009 as assistant crew chief on Tasca's Shelby Mustang.

"I think it's a great plan," said Chris Cunningham, Tasca Racing crew chief. "I look forward to having another car and another guy to bounce ideas off of. I'm so used to having two cars to work with, so to have another set of eyes to look at something when you might not be confident, can do nothing but enhance both programs. I think it's great that Bob will have someone to talk to as far as driving tips, because Tim has been out here for a long time and does a great job driving and an excellent job tuning. I view it as us being blessed to have something like this go down."

Tasca currently sits two spots outside of the top 10 heading into this weekend, while Wilkerson has captured the most wins this season and leads the point standings.

TIM WILKERSON -- Team owner, driver, Tim Wilkerson Racing -- Levi, Ray, Shoup Ford Mustang

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THIS ALLIANCE WITH TASCA RACING CAME ABOUT, AND YOUR PLANS GOING INTO NEXT SEASON? Well Bob and I had some discussions throughout the year on how our two teams can compete with the larger teams out here. Getting at-track information really seems to be the problem for single-car teams, which really is based on just the timeframe that you have to run your car at the track and the amount of people you have to compare data with. It just seems like you can't get enough data out here. We know that the multi-car teams really have us with our backs against the wall in that aspect, so the discussions we've had through the year with Bob had us thinking it might be a possibility that we could get together for next season, so we started talking to see if it might be something that I'd be interested in and that he would be interested in doing. And also, that would be a good deal for both teams. And I think that we've hit on all of the high points and of course we talked about any downside that there could be, and we really couldn't think of any. We just decided, you know what, let's put together this deal and go on in the future and hope that it can bring some really big things for both of us.

"We talked about why would I want to do this with him, and why would he want to do this deal with me, and we talked about it in great length numerous times. Bob has a lot to bring to the table on the business side, because he has a lot of contacts and a great business sense, and he's going to be a huge asset to be involved with from my point of view. Just the way he handles himself, is amazing, especially for as young as he is. First off, I don't have a lot of the time to do the stuff that Bob can get done, and I don't have the contacts either. He's got a great selling point to me that way, and of course my selling point to him is that I'm a veteran racer. I think that he has put together a team that in my opinion can vie for the championship in 2009. He put together his program this past year quickly, and whenever you do that, there are a lot of growing pains. And I think he's through those growing pains and he understands more, and I know that he would have liked to have two cars the day he started, but sometimes you've got to do a little bit of crawling before you can get up and walk. And hopefully, we can help get him off the walking mode and into the full stride next season.

THIS ARRANGEMENT IS A TRUE ALLIANCE, AND NOT ONE TEAM COMING IN AND TAKING OVER THE OTHER. "I think it's important to get out there that this is a true alliance, because we talked about that. We had conversations about it not being my responsibility or position to undermine or to convince his team that they might be doing something wrong, or the other way around. Heck, they might be doing everything right that my team is doing wrong, you never know. And we're going into this with that attitude."

BOB TASCA -- Team owner, driver, Tasca Racing -- Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang

"I've always been determined to create a championship-caliber program, that's what I've been focused on from day one and what I committed to for Ford Motor Company. Certainly since we've come through this first year, it's become very apparent that a two-car team is a huge advantage. These alliances aren't taken lightly. It's not like over coffee you shake hands and decide to do a deal. There is a lot of thought and a lot of planning that goes into something like this. And I can tell you that Tim and I have been talking for months now, and you have to make sure that its right. At the end of the day, money is certainly important and you need to have the resources to run these cars, but more importantly is the people side of it. And for me, to know that you go to battle every weekend with Tim Wilkerson and his program, and then couple that with Chris Cunningham, Marc Denner, and my program for next year, I mean that is a powerful group of people. Forget the money, forget the people; just look at the brain trust that we've been able to pull together. And I'm elated to be associated with Tim. He's proven this year is one of the more remarkable championship runs, and may go down as 'the' most remarkable championship runs as a single-car team in the day and age of these multi-car empires. So it's something that we've thought through, we've strategized, we looked at the pros and cons of, and I can just tell you that the two teams coming together in ever sense of the word, makes me proud to stand behind Tim Wilkerson and I really feel that we're creating our own little mini empire here and it's going to be a force to be reckoned with next year."

BOTH YOU AND TIM HAVE MENTIONED THAT THE RELATIONSHIP BOTH OF YOU HAVE WITH CHRIS CUNNINGHAM WAS A MAJOR FACTOR IN THIS DECISION. "The chemistry and the culture out here is so critical, that I was told that everyone needs to be going in the same direction. And when Tim and I started talking about this and kind of reflecting a little bit, we looked at the both of us and we have similar backgrounds as far as our family being in and around the sport. He's got a son that is getting into racing, and I grew up in the business, so I think right away that we clicked. I think we clicked all the back to Phoenix testing before the season. He was always supportive and would come up to me and give me his advice as a veteran driver, and we kid of started a relationship early on in the season. And then certainly as that unfolded, and certainly his relationship with Chris and Marc over the years, Tim just knew that as important as it was for Tim to work with me, it might be more important to work with Chris and Marc. They just have had such a healthy relationship over the years that Tim knew bringing this team together was going to be a big step for both of us. We kind of joked about what could go wrong with this deal, and we really couldn't come up with anything. When we put everything down on paper and looked at how our resources coupled with his resources, this really takes both programs up several notches. This is not a baby step in either program. This is a big leap forward for Wilkerson Racing and Tasca Racing on a performance level, and we're both looking forward to reaping the rewards of it next year. I'm looking forward to going to battle next year with Tim by my side.

CHRIS CUNNINGHAM -- Crew Chief, Tasca Racing

YOU'VE SPENT MANY OF YOUR TIME IN THE SERIES WORKING WITHIN A MULTI-CAR OPERATION. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR ADDING A SECOND CAR TO THE PROGRAM NEXT SEASON? "I think it's a great plan. I look forward to having another car and another guy to bounce ideas off of. I'm so used to having two cars to work with, so to have another set of eyes to look at something when you might not be confident, can do nothing but enhance both programs. Tim is having a phenomenal year, but doing it as a single-car team is almost unheard of. This alliance will do nothing but pick both programs up and make everyone better. I think that it's great that Bob will have someone to talk to as far as driving tips, because Tim has been out here for a long time and does a great job driving and an excellent job tuning. I view it as us being blessed to have something like this go down."

TIM MENTIONED THAT A PART OF THIS DECISION WAS THE FACT THAT THE TWO OF YOU HAVE DEVELOPED A GOOD RELATIONSHIP OVER THE YEARS. "For Tim to say that I was any part of the reason that he's doing something really is an honor. He and I share a lot of the same views on how to run the car. I guess you could say that we've had more casual conversations than we've had technical conversations, but you can just tell the personalities mix and he shares a lot of the same ideas as we do."

-credit: tasca/motorcraft

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tim Wilkerson , Bob Tasca III