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NHRA Funny Car - Tasca Walks Away With Career-Best ET And Semifinal Finish

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Atlanta, May 15, 2011: The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car ran better than it has all season at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, and Bob Tasca III has a new career-best elapsed time and a semifinal finish to prove it.

It was a star-studded weekend for Tasca, who played host to both NASCAR Sprint Cup Crew Chief Donnie Wingo, who guided rookie Trevor Bayne to a win at the Daytona 500 in the Wood Bros. No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, and Bill Elliott, also of NASCAR fame. Elliott and his son Chase got a first-hand look at how the team runs on race day, even riding along in the team’s tow vehicle.

Tasca clocked his new career-best ET, a 4.074-second pass, in the final round of qualifying in the hot, sticky heat of the south. It’s a good omen for Tasca, who defeated Johnny Gray and Houston winner Jeff Arend in the early rounds.

In the semifinals, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang struck the tires early and coasted to a 6.74 to opponent and ‘One Ford’ teammate Mike Neff’s 4.56. Neff advanced to his second-consecutive final round, losing to Jack Beckman in the final round.

Tasca now heads to Florida to see the Shuttle Endeavour launch as a friend of the Kelly family. His friend Mark Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz), will serve as Commander of the flight. Giffords’ appearance has been eagerly anticipated and hailed as a major step in her recovery from a gunshot wound she suffered during a public appearance in front of a Tuscon, Ariz. grocery store.

“It was a great weekend for our team over all,” said Tasca, who will get little sleep on his way to Cape Canaveral. “I wish we had two more runs in us to close out the weekend, but I’m certainly very proud of our team, especially (Crew Chief and Co-Crew Chief) Chris (Cunningham) and Marc (Denner).

“We got this car pointed in the right direction. Just pushed a little too hard against Mike. He had to go a great time to beat us and we just went over the edge by a little bit. At the end of the day, we collected valuable points. We’re just a handful of points away from the third spot.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang team leaves Atlanta eighth in the NHRA Full Throttle Series point standings with 330, 82 points away from the third spot. He trails leader Neff by 166 points.