This Week in Ford Racing Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang, returns to the track of his first alcohol Top Funny Car win, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. The New England track is a four ...
This Week in Ford Racing
Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang, returns to the track of his first alcohol Top Funny Car win, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. The New England track is a four hour drive from Tasca's home and Ford dealership in Cranston, RI. Tasca talks about racing at his home track and his sophomore season in as a Funny Car driver in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO RACE IN ENGLISHTOWN? "The history at Englishtown is almost unparalleled. It's my home track. There are so many fans from Rhode Island and neighboring areas that come down and watch us race. It's pretty historic for me only because it's a track that my grandfather performed very well at and had countless match races over the years. There are magic moments in everyone's life and for me, one of the greatest magic moments was Englishtown when I won that first national event in my alcohol funny car and my entire family was there. I really think it played a big role in me getting my top fuel sponsorship with Motorcraft and Quick Lane. The Ford executives were there, they saw the crowds, the passion and then they saw us win. It's a place where if we raced 24 times there, it wouldn't bother me a bit. I'm looking to get a win in the top fuel car in front of the home crowd and the Motorcraft Racing Experience will be there. In case you didn't know, I'm real excited about Englishtown."
HOW DOES THIS YEAR COMPARE TO YOUR FIRST YEAR IN THE NITRO FUNNY CAR? "I'm real glad that this isn't my freshman season. I look back and say, 'Yeah, that was a great time but I would never want to learn how to drive a funny car again.' I'm far from an expert because there is so much that you have to take in and prepare yourself for in that first year and it's a challenging time. I still have a lot to learn and I wouldn't consider myself a professional, but there an increased confidence level in knowing the unknown. Last year, I didn't know the unknown. You hit the gas and you hope that you'll react. This year, I have confidence in my ability as a driver. Our team has proven that we can win, so a lot of that stuff is behind us. In my sophomore season, I'm more eager and I look forward to driving the car more than I ever have because you really start the process and learn more. It's almost like a sponge. The first 50 runs in the car, I don't even remember the finish line. That's how overwhelming it is. This year, it's about more runs and more seat time and soaking up and really trying to improve my skills as a driver. I've been much more consistent in the car during qualifying, eliminations and knowing where I'm at in the track. It's an exciting time for me because I have confidence in myself. I have confidence in my team and most importantly, I have confidence in the Shelby Mustang race car. We are a very dangerous team as this Countdown winds down. Hopefully, we're in this fight for a championship. We've got a team to be reckoned with to close out this year."
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU CARRIED WITH YOU FROM LAST SEASON TO THIS SEASON? "This year, I have confidence to know what I don't know. I have a better understanding of knowing the unknown. I'm still eager to learn more and at the same time realize how little I know. Last year, I didn't know what I didn't know. This year, I really have sense of what I don't know. I have sense of where I need to improve, much more than I did last year because there is so much to take in during your first year. But, at the same time, I have a sense of confidence that I didn't have in my rookie season in my race car, in my race team and in myself."
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM WINNING IN GAINESVILLE? DID THAT CHANGE YOUR GOALS FOR THE SEASON? "I think it's not what we learned, it's what we proved. It's what we proved to our sponsor, the fans, the racers and ourselves that we are winners and that we have what it takes to win. That to me was very important. It was important for me to prove to my team that I could perform as a driver and I know it was so important for them to prove to Ford and to our program that they can deliver a race car that could win. We knew it. We believed it, but proving it is everything. I don't think the Gainesville win changed my goals for the season. Our expectation is to win and it's not to win one race, but it's to win multiple races. It is about putting ourselves in a position to run for the championship. That was the goal going into this year, to get in the top 10, stay in the top 10 and be a contender to race for the championship. Nobody can guarantee a championship. That's pretty evident when you see the level of competition out there. However, you want to guarantee yourself a chance to win a championship. That was our goal coming into the season, winning hasn't deviated that at all, but it is about proving to the world that we could win and getting that first win behind us is certainly a great accomplishment in only our 27th race."
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN AT OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK? "Englishtown is a pretty tricky track. It can be really fast, but because the race takes place in the middle of summer, it's a hot race track. The key of racing in Englishtown, I don't think is any different than racing at any other track. You have to go in with a race car that is predictable. And that's what we have - a predictable Mustang. Any condition can throw any team for a loop. We'll use Bristol as an example, on race morning it was 58 degrees out after being in the 70s on Saturday. But you have to have predictable car. We have a Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang that is very predictable, it's better on a hot track than a cool track but it goes A to B a lot and it goes A to B fast. In Bristol. on a 121-degree race track, we ran low ET on Saturday. Going into Englishtown, the key to us will be us, not Englishtown. It will be how well we're prepared. It's the decision-making processes that the crew chiefs go through, it's the driver performing. The key to win Englishtown is us. We hold the key and how we manage the race will ultimately how well we do."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO RACE CLOSE TO HOME? "We're so proud of what we do and all the race teams are. You want to win, you want to perform and to do it in a place that's close to home with so many people that pull for you week- in and week-out, to put on a good show in front of the home crowd is extra special. We're going in with guns loaded, no different than what we do for any other race. I think it is more special for us is the home crowd. Truthfully, we have two home tracks. Englishtown is my home track and Charlotte is the guys' home track. There is that same sense of pride and accomplishment they share in Charlotte."
HOW HAS THE TECHNICAL ALLIANCE WITH TIM WILKERSON HELPED YOU? HOW HAS IT HELPED TIM? "It's been everything that we thought it would be and more. I share a wonderful relationship with Tim. Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner share a great relationship with Tim. We have different philosophies on tuning a car, which is healthy because if we both had the same philosophy, what would you learn? I think Tim has learned a lot from us and we've learned a lot from him. Most importantly, both cars have a lot to learn. Tim doesn't say his car is perfect and his way is the way it should be. And Chris doesn't tell Tim that our car is perfect and this is the way it has to be. Every race Tim is trying something different than we are and sometimes it works for us, sometimes it works for him. We see things in his tune-up that we need to be closer to him in that direction. He sees things in our tune-up that he'll try on his car. I cannot imagine going into these seasons and into these races without a guy to look over at his information. The competition is too tight, the margin of error is to small, so not to be working with a guy like Tim and I think Tim echoes the same feelings, would put us at a disadvantage. I'm very pleased with the relationship. I think we've only scratched the surface of it. Unfortunately, what people don't realize, we learn four seconds at a time. If you put that into perspective, on a weekend, if you win the race, you have 32 seconds of data. So, how can you expect a program to bring two teams together and flip a light switch and we've learned everything that we need to learn. It's impossible. It will take time for us to really hit our stride. If you take the amount of time we're on the track that equals about 6.6 minutes of data. This is a process that takes time. You can't learn everything in four races. What I'm very happy about is that we have 6.6 minutes of data. That is a lot of data in our sport. It's insignificant in the big picture, but it is a lot of data that Chris and Tim have been able to look at and evaluate. I think nine races from now, we'll have 12 minutes of data. But we have 390 seconds of information that we've been able to compare and we've learned a lot, but we have a lot to learn. I couldn't imagine being a single car team and not having some else to look over their shoulder."
-credit: ford racing