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NHRA Funny Car - Tasca Rides The Bump Into U.S. Nationals

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 30, 2011: How does it feel to be 'on the bump'? Exactly like you'd expect it to. Uncomfortable...nerve-wracking...the word 'gut ache' comes to mind.

Fortunately Bob Tasca III's a cool customer, and he’s in the driver’s seat.

Tasca enters the U.S Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway 10th in the NHRA Full Throttle Series Funny Car point standings. He's in the playoffs with one race to go before the Countdown to the Championship cut, when the Top 10 drivers who will be eligible to win the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Series titles in all four professional categories are determined and point standings are reset for the playoffs. Once that cut is made, drivers from the 11th spot down become spoilers for those still in contention for the title.

Enter drag racing’s biggest stage – the “Big Go,” where the focus for Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will be on staying above the cut, with Don Schumacher Racing's Johnny Gray is just 62 points behind in 11th.

“We’re going into Indy in the driver’s seat,” Tasca said. “We’re not necessarily happy we’re going in 10th, but we are certainly in the driver’s seat. (DSR and Johnny Gray) are not going to Indy to lose it, that’s for sure. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. If it plays out the way it should play out, we’ll roll into (the next race) in Charlotte and be a championship contender. We’re looking to move up, certainly not move down.”

So far, the 2011 season has yielded a little bit of everything for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team – a mixed bag of good and bad that always leaves an aftertaste of frustration. Knowing the team is striding in the right direction has been key for the Tasca, Crew Chief Chris Cunningham and Co-Crew Chief Marc Denner.

They continued up the learning curve during the annual testing session at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis last week. They didn’t uncover anything to worry about for Indianapolis, Tasca said, but “we definitely found some things that will pay dividends down the road.”

The atmosphere at the U.S. Nationals, once experienced, is something you can never forget, whether attending as a driver or a fan. Once you’re through the gates, there’s no turning back.

“I think for me, it’s just landing at the airport in Indianapolis (that makes it real),” Tasca said. “That’s when Indy starts for me. At the end of the day, it’s not a race that we try any harder to win because I don’t think there’s such a thing. We go to every race to try to win. But it’s a race you want to do well at. At the end of the day, you have to go out there and do what you do.”