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Funny Car - Finally! Tasca Watches As Shuttle Endeavour Makes Last Lift-Off

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Cape Canaveral, may 16, 2011: The ground rumbled under his feet as Bob Tasca III stood as close to the Shuttle Endeavour as a person can be without being inside. After a month of postponements, the moment was finally here – the final lift-off for Shuttle Endeavour.

Mark Kelly, a friend of Tasca’s, is on board commanding the flight.

Tasca flew to Florida straight from driving the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car to a semifinal finish at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. He, his parents, Bob Jr. and Jayne Tasca, and Co-Crew Chief Marc Denner did not have time to sleep between touchdown and a 1:30 a.m. departure time for Cape Canaveral.

“It was awesome. It was unbelievable,” said Tasca, who sent a thank you e-mail to Kelly’s in-orbit address. “It really was amazing. Just to look at it; four million pounds, sitting there on the launch pad. It accelerates in eight minutes. From blastoff to in-orbit in eight minutes. We talked about which would be louder, my Funny Car or the space shuttle. It was pretty loud, and I was 2 miles away. The Funny Car is louder, but you’re standing right next to it. This thing was 2 miles away and the ground was rumbling. It’s an amazing machine, to say the least. Amazing.”

Although the siren call of power and speed would be mesmerizing for any driver in the world’s fastest motorsport, Tasca says he’ll stick with Funny Car racing.

“I was just honored to be there; to be part of the launch and be with the astronauts’ family members and friends,” Tasca said. “It was really special to be there; to see Mark live his fame.”