Mother Nature has not been doing NHRA nitro Funny Car owner/driver Bob Tasca III any favors.
When Tasca and his team arrived in Las Vegas for the Summitracing.com Nationals April 5-7 it was with a car which experienced a makeover.
The team competed in Vegas with a brand new chassis and switched the blower. Tasca made the drastic changes because he wasn’t happy with how his car ran at Pomona, Phoenix and Gainesville.
The changes to Tasca’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang have shown improvement. The only problem is he has not been able to make enough laps because of qualifying sessions getting washed out at the 4Wide Nationals in Charlotte, Houston and Atlanta.
“We just need runs,” Tasca said. “We leave Vegas with a whole new set-up and we lose two runs in Charlotte, we lose two runs in Houston and we lose two runs in Atlanta. You are trying to qualify and win the race, so it’s very, very difficult. It certainly adds another level of difficulty when you made the move I made with the wholesale changes to our set-up and you lose runs. You are losing 50 percent of your qualifying runs three races in a row. It has clearly set us back a little bit, and I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t. If I had my choice, we would be running not sitting in the rain. I think all of us would feel that way.”
Tasca also isn’t making any excuses for something he can’t control.
“That’s just the way it is,” Tasca said. “We just have to suck it up and move on down the road. I’m very confident. The only thing our team needs right now is runs. One thing about this race (rescheduled Atlanta) is this will be the hottest conditions we have seen. On Friday, they are calling for mid to high 80s. We left Atlanta and we are going back to the same place, but it could be a whole different continent compared to the weather we left to what it is supposed to be (Friday and Saturday). So it will be a completely different philosophical approach to the race because there isn’t supposed to be any rain.”
The Southern Nationals were originally scheduled for May 3-5, but had to be rescheduled to Friday and Saturday because of rain.
Friday will include two qualifying sessions at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and then Sunday final eliminations are slated for 11 a.m. All times are Eastern.
“We are going to get two runs on Friday which are very important to us,” Tasca said. “Clearly we want to put ourselves in position to make a run for the trophy on Saturday.”
With only two qualifying runs on Friday, Tasca knows his team will have to take a different approach than normal. Tasca is 10th in the point standings two points behind Alex DeJoria, who is ninth.
“We have to be more conservative,” Tasca said. “You are less susceptible to try something or maybe venture too far out from what you have at least some baseline from because you have to get qualified. Obviously, the plan is to make a good run on that first session that puts you solidly in the field where you know you can’t be bumped out. Then, in the second session you could have a little bit more flexibility.”
Tasca had a decent outing at Houston, qualifying No. 8 and advancing to the second round before losing to eventual winner Cruz Pedregon. Tasca smoked the tires almost immediately in the loss.
“Houston was the first time we kind of rolled the car out and didn’t change anything,” Tasca said. “We had some success, but obviously not what we wanted in second round. The car didn’t do what we wanted it to do, but we think we found the reason why. The good thing for us at Atlanta is we are not changing a lot. I think we have kind of landed on our setup and now we are just kind of picking away at it. I think the average fan would be blown away to know the difference between running a 4.05 and a 4.18. It is real, real small, small adjustments. At the end of the day, once you get into that window that you are comfortable in, crew chiefs are more comfortable moving the tuneup around to get the car to run an 0 or a teen depending on what you need at the time.”
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