This Week in Ford Racing Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang in the nitro Funny Car class, enters this weekend's NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., 11th in the points, 42 points outside of the top 10. With...
This Week in Ford Racing
Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang in the nitro Funny Car class, enters this weekend's NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., 11th in the points, 42 points outside of the top 10. With three races to go before the top 10 drivers are locked in to run for the championship, the rookie driver talks about his season to date and his team's goals for the next three races.
YOU ARE HEADING INTO BRAINERD 11TH IN THE POINTS. COMING OUT OF THE LAST RACE, YOU SAID THIS BRAINERD RACE WOULD BE VERY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR TEAM. "When you look at the raw math, you've got three races, and four rounds at each race, so 12 rounds are up for grabs between now and when we roll out of Indy. Each race, each round is more and more important to the outcome of the championship hunt. Truthfully, I wouldn't have thought I'd be coming out of the Western Swing without a round win, and more importantly, only 42 points out of the top 10. Again, it kind of foreshadows just how competitive this Funny Car field is right now. You've got [Tony] Bartone DNQ, win, DNQ, and then John Force with a DNQ in Seattle. You've got things that have happened that you wouldn't have forecasted. Someone said to me, 'You guys are a new team and you've done really well,' and on and on, and the truth is, yes, we are a new team, but we've exceeded a lot of people's expectations because of how we've performed on Friday and Saturday. We've had some big runs when we've needed them; we've run well in the heat. And we've done a very good job of qualifying, and performing in the top half of the field on the majority of the qualifying runs. Unfortunately, on Sunday, when we've needed things to go our way, it just hasn't been there for us. Truthfully, I'm very confident that this team can turn a corner here on Sunday, not just to win a round of two; I think we're more than capable of winning a couple of races between now and the end of the year. Obviously, for a championship run, I hope they come here in the next three races. We're going to need to perform well in the next three races. That doesn't mean that we might win the rest of the season, but to get into the championship run, these next three races, our luck needs to turn to get into the top 10, and that's really all we're focused on right now. Just getting our car into the top 10 and giving ourselves a chance to run for the championship."
GETTING INTO THE TOP 10 IS A CONSTANT THOUGHT. BUT WHEN YOU GET INTO THE CAR, IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU JUST HAVE TO PUT OUT OF YOUR MIND? "That's absolutely right. You say they're pressure-packed rounds, but truthfully, every round is pressure-packed and every round has huge consequences. And as a driver and a team, you just look at it as another run down the track. You can't over-think it and you can't try too hard, you just have to let the chips fall where they may and give yourself a chance. Fortunately, we've done a very good job at that. When things needed to go our way, they just haven't on Sunday. But as quick as our luck as been torn a little bit, it can go the other way. And we don't need much. It's not like we're not a contender. The car and the team, and even me as a driver, we've proven ourselves to this point in the season that we're the real deal, we're here to stay, we've got a competitive race car, we just need the ball to bounce our way on Sunday. If we get that at one of the next two races, if we run off a win, we're a top-10 contender. If we're going to win one round, we better win one at Indy, Reading, and Brainerd. If you can win a couple of rounds or win a race, you only need to do it once in the next three, and you're a top-10 car. It's so close, and from a fan's standpoint, because I'm just as much a fan, what an exciting time of the season for a fan and for me as a driver, to be in the position we're in, to still be a contender for the top 10-deal. It's going to make the next three races really exciting. I'll make one prediction: It will go down to Indy. I think position eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14, those seven spots will go down to Indy. It's going to be neat. Hey, if we get into the top 10, anything can happen."
FROM JUST STARTING YOUR TEAM IN NOVEMBER 2007, IF SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT IN AUGUST OF THIS SEASON, YOU'D BE ONE SPOT OUT OF THE TOP 10 BY 42 POINTS, WOULD THAT BE SOMETHING YOU EXPECTED? "I think that it would have been something that I expected, only because our expectation levels have always been high. Even starting with a new team, our goal was to get into the top 10 and give ourselves a chance. Our goal was to win one or two races this year. I think only because of the background of my family and the association with Ford, Ford's trust and belief in my family to be able to put together a team, I think our expectations have always been very high. I think we might have exceeded what some people around us expected, where maybe they wouldn't think that we would come out as strong as we have. I don't think that it's surprised us as much as it has maybe other people, because we have a very high expectation for this program both short term and long term. Now we're not so naïve to make claim that we're going to win a championship this year or for others to look out, because we are humbled by the fact that we are in the midst of legends out there with huge resources and tons of data and experience, that we're building as we go along. But at the same time, we don't expect to roll into a race ever, and not think we have a chance to win. I can tell you one thing, when we pull into a track, and we set up and crew guys work more than 80 hours in a week, our expectation level is that we're there to win, period. Then what happens? Well, let the chips fall where they may. But we have the parts to win, the talent to win, and I believe within the next couple of races, we're going to prove that to be the case."
-credit: ford racing