Bob Tasca III said exactly what he meant.
Tasca, in the midst of a tight battle for the No. 10 and final NHRA Countdown position, was sitting in the back of the staging lanes during the first round of eliminations at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, when ESPN interviewed him.
When the subject of DSR teammate Matt Hagan (not in the top ten) beating Ron Capps was broached, Tasca responded, “I’m not surprised.”
“The statement I made is exactly what I meant,” said Tasca.
Understanding what he said was not the issue. Interpretation, he added, became the issue.
Tasca said there was an outcry suggesting his comments were an accusation Capps intentionally smoked the tires in his Funny Car to let Hagan advance.
“I wasn’t surprised Hagan beat Capps, why should I be?” Tasca asked. “They are the world champs and the last time I checked, Hagan is a pretty good driver. Not to say Capps isn’t a good driver with a good car. Anybody can beat anybody out here.
“When ESPN asked the question it caught me off guard, ‘Oh my God, Hagan beat Capps.’ Therefore I responded that I wasn’t surprised. That’s all I said and I think it was taken out of context. Maybe some people had too much time on their hands and read too much into the statement. That’s drag racing and you saw three other cars smoke the tires at the hit of the throttle in that lane.
“If people want to get excited about it, then let them. But, that’s exactly what I meant.”
Tasca added he’s never been one to throw stones at other drivers, and certainly didn’t this time.
“I don’t talk about it and never have,” said Tasca. “This sport is so unpredictable. Before you accuse anyone out here, you had better have a lot of facts to back it up. I was in no way trying to insinuate anything other than I wasn’t surprised he beat them. I am good friends with him and if he wants to talk about it, I am open to it.”
Capps said he hadn’t seen the broadcast but was made aware of the comments. Having enjoyed a good racing relationship with Tasca, he said he didn’t believe Tasca was pointing an accusing finger.
“I’d be surprised if Bob would have accused someone like that,” admitted Capps. “He knows me and knows me better than that. I’ve said stuff before that was taken the wrong way before.”
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