Bob Tasca III reached new heights during the NHRA Betway Carolina Nationals Sunday, further elevating his standing in the Countdown to the Championship. Tasca not only scored his third victory of the season, but also rocketed to a major milestone in the process at zMax Dragway.
“It was a huge win for our team – to keep our championship hopes alive,” Tasca said. “These are big races with big implications. I mean, if you lose in the semifinals, you go behind the points leader by a race. If you win the race, you’re within a round of first place.”
“I give all the credit, this win, to my team. They performed flawlessly. In the final round we had a big issue assembling the engine – a head bolt that broke – and in 25 minutes, they had to swap the engine. They did an incredible job. To be able to deliver this win to the team, sponsors and put ourselves in the position to really be in contention for the championship – that’s what we do it for. Just excited about how the car ran, and I’m looking forward to going to St. Louis and doing it again.”
Tasca was quick on the accelerator, posting a blistering 3.836-second qualifying pass at 331.94 mph. The time registered by Tasca’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang was a personal best from the 3.851 seconds that he set previously. It also is the quickest recorded pass for Mustang to 1,000 feet, which was 3.844 seconds by Tim Wilkerson in 2017. The sensational run slotted him into the No. 3 spot, but he soon emerged as a favorite for the final round by his consistently quick runs during the eliminations.
“You don’t get to make history often,” Tasca said. “But when you look at the legacy of Mustang, which is something I cherish very much, to leave it a little brighter than you found it has always been my goal. To run the quickest run in the history of Mustang, and also beating my career best, it doesn’t get much more special to that. To say that I’m the ‘Fastest Ford Man on the Planet,’ well… I’m the ‘Fastest Ford Man on the Planet.’”
“That’s something that I have a lot of pride in, and to put this thing in the winner’s circle and give ourselves a chance to reality be in this championship fight, it’d be a dream come true to be able to deliver this championship to Ford. This is what this team is focused on doing.”
Tasca, who entered the Carolina Nationals 11-3 in the first round as a No. 3 seed, faced off against the No. 14 seeded Alexis DeJoria. He was the first off the line and pulled away to victory, posting a 3.871-second run at 328.70 mph. While Tasca was 6-6 in the second round this season, he notably had not been beaten by his next opponent, the No. 11 seeded Terry Haddock. Tasca, again, advanced by another solid pass of 3.894 seconds at 329.02 mph.
The semifinal match-up proved to be a challenge for Tasca with track temperatures continuing to increase throughout the day – up 26 degrees from his initial elimination run. The second seed, Matt Hagan, earned an early-advantage to the 660-foot mark before Tasca’s Mustang began closing the gap. Tasca bested Hagan by a narrow .0062 margin of victory after posting a 3.935-second run at 327.35 mph.
Tasca reached his 29th class final round of his career, and this time specifically, showcased the swift adaptability of the Motorcraft/ Quick Lane crew as it was able to swap engines with less than 30 minutes to the final round. The grit and determination of the team motivated Tasca for one final challenge: 2022 Points Champion Robert Hight. Tasca got the immediate jump on the top-seeded Hight, and with that, created enough of a gap to cross the line first by four-hundredths of a second. Tasca started the playoffs fourth in points and now sits in second. The win is Tasca’s 17th of his career, 14th in class.
“On behalf of the entire Motorcraft team, we want to congratulate Bob on his impressive victory during this weekend’s Carolina Nationals, “ said Fletch Carter, Ford Customer Service Division, U.S. Sales Manager. “Ford and Motorcraft are so proud of Bob – the dedication and determination he has to excel as a top-level driver, ambassador and teacher. We wish him and the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane team continued success in their pursuit of the championship.”
Tasca has amplified his impact – beyond his role as the Vice President of Tasca Automotive Group, team owner and driver in motorsport – by extending his support off the racetrack to the automotive industry’s future. Tasca works alongside Ford to attract and retain automotive technicians. During the school year, he speaks to thousands of students who take part in the NHRA’s YES (Youth and Education Services) programs. He also participates in race-day hospitality programs for current Ford technicians.
“I’ll be comfortable when I have the championship trophy in my hand at Pomona,” Tasca said. “Until then, this team is going to race like it’s the last race we ever enter. We’re going to leave it all on the line to give our team the best chance to win the championship. We’re going against the best in the world – best driver, crew chiefs and crews that this sport has to offer.”
“You beat Hagan, you beat Robert… Those are the guys gunning for the championship. If you slip up, it’s going to make it really hard. But, we’re in a good spot. We’re chasing Robert – we know that. In order for us to get around him, we need to keep winning rounds. We’re going to do the best we can in St. Louis and continue on this road.”
Next on the schedule is the NHRA Midwest Nationals, set for September 29 – October 1 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.