Pre-season testing in racing is like spring training for baseball or summer camp for football. The slate is clean, everyone has the same record and sprits are high. You can feel the positive energy in the air.
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang Funny Car team has every reason to be positive going into 2014. We made a clutch and a set up change in mid season last year, right before Las Vegas, and everything really came together during the West Coast swing that followed. We reached the finals in Denver and Seattle and then in Chicago we were the first Ford in the threes with a 3.988 and only the sixth car to do that in Funny Car history.
We had some consistency problems toward the end of the year and just missed making the Countdown, but the changes we made had given us the desired results. So we went into pre-season testing in south Florida this year needing to do a better job with the consistency of our car. It’s a very, very fickle machine and requires a lot of work to get these things consistent. I was eager to get the team down there and get in a dozen or more runs using the set up we’re going to run the year with. It’s a big deal.
We had a great first day of testing. There’s nothing like the first side by side run of the year! We made a lot of runs working on the new set up for 2014 and it all came together Friday night when we ran a 4.067 at 314.46 mph, good for 7th quickest of the day.
On the final day of testing, we were one of three teams to post a pass in the four second range with a 4.084 run at 314.39 mph, 6th best of the day.
It was the best opening test session we’ve ever had! Most of what we wanted to test worked as planned. We’re looking forward to building on that momentum in Pomona!
Later in the season, July 18-20 to be exact, one child with type 1 diabetes (T1D) will win a trip to the Mile High NHRA Nationals in Denver to see the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car race clad in his or her contest-winning design. Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) and its brands Motorcraft, the official recommended aftermarket part for Ford vehicles, and Quick Lane are running this contest for the seventh consecutive year.
The designs these kids come up with are just incredible. It really is an honor to help spread the word about JDRF and tell the story of what these kids live with everyday. Their strength is amazing.
Stay tuned for more information about the JDRF contest and more from Team Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car Team.
You don’t have to look far to find a saying that tells you how you should act when something happens to you like missing the playoffs in a sport you’ve made your life. You hear so many these days they’re almost cliché, but the thing is, most of them are true.
There’s the one about how many times you fall down vs. how many times you get up. Henry Ford once said “The short successes that can be gained in a brief time and without difficulty are not worth much” and you can see how his strategy played out. I’m in Dearborn, Mich. this week to talk about the products that are coming out with his name on them – 111 years after he won the race that got enough attention and capital for him to found Ford Motor Company, after going bankrupt.
So in the grand scheme of things, six years into my racing career really isn’t a long time. Just ask John Force. He raced for 12 years before he won an NHRA championship.
Still, when you put your heart and soul into something like this Motorcraft/Quick Lane team does, it’s easy to forget that sometimes you just have to wait and keep working hard, knowing that sooner or later the odds will fall your way.
In the meantime, we’re ready to attack the last six races of the year and bring home a few Wallys along the way.
After Indianapolis, my guys drove straight to Rhode Island for the 16th-annual Tasca Ford Mustang Car Show, to benefit the Rhode Island Food Bank. More than 250 cars showed up and we raised a ton of food for the families in the area, so that was a good way of putting what had happened in Indy into perspective for us.
I have to thank John Force and Tim Wilkerson for coming out and entertaining the fans. Everyone had a good time.
My team and I fired up our Motorcraft/Quick Lane car at the car show and, at home, boiled some lobster and played football to blow off some steam
Now we’re ready to race in Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, St. Louis and Reading, Pa. in the next four weeks, then close out the season in Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif., where it all started.
It’s August. How did that happen? Being out here on the road, the time goes by so fast.
So let’s get the obvious topic out of the way first. By now, you’ve probably heard we have some big things coming up for our team in the next few years. Ford is shifting to the NHRA Sportsman classes, which means we’ll have announcements to make. Ford has always meant a lot to my family and will continue to, and I respect decisions that have been made. However, Tasca Racing has no plans on getting out of the sport and we'll announce some exciting news next season.
As always I’m focused on racing.
I had the best Western Swing of my career. We runnered-up at the first and last stops of the three-race trek, in Denver and Seattle. Talk about a great stretch for us. I’ve said it many times – I have the best car and best team of my career right now. We still have our struggles with smoking the tires and we still have work to do, but that’s something that’s true for all of us NHRA Funny Car teams out there. It’s a dogfight in our class. We’re out there every weekend fighting for points against every other team that wants the Wally as bad as we do. We hurt some engines in Seattle and my guys have been working hard giving me the best Mustang Funny Car we can have. We’re seeing results.
I think everyone’s happy to get a weekend off after the Swing. Time off doesn’t happen too much, which I actually like. I’m always thinking about the next race on the schedule; the next time I’ll get in my car. I don’t like to have too much time off away from the track.
Next up is Brainerd, Minn. I haven’t won there yet and I think we should change that. If you’ve never been to the race there, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. If you’ve heard stories about it, most of them are probably true!
Before we know it, we’ll be in Indy. We’re already talking about that race and the cut off for the playoffs. We made a big move in points in Seattle (up to ninth from 11th) and we’re only three points behind Tim Wilkerson, who’s eighth. In Seattle, all of us drivers around the 10th-place “bump” were on the same side of the ladder and it felt great to get to control our own destiny and make it all the way to the final round. Wins are tough to come by in this sport, but we’re all confident in our team and our car.
If you see my posts on Facebook or Twitter (@Tasca3), you’ve seen a bunch about JDRF and our paint scheme contest. (If you don’t, you’re missing all kinds of insider photos – did you see the one of my dad in an apron? Like/follow me! Do it today!)
We’re part of the JDRF team again this year, raising money for the fight against T1D (type 1 diabetes).
Once a year, I get to race with a… not so traditional design on my Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car.
Last year’s was red, white and blue with different-colored sneakers on the nose. You may remember it from Norwalk. The design was awesome and the best part was the 11-year-old with T1D who designed it is a drag racer too.
Her name is Libby Ledford. Her whole family drag races, and she brought her mom, dad, brother and friend to the race to help us unveil the paint scheme she created in the “Our Everyday Heroes” Race Car Design Contest for JDRF, hosted by the Ford Customer Service Division and its brands, Motorcraft and Quick Lane. Those are the names you’ll recognize from the sides of my car…Motorcraft (the official recommended aftermarket part for Ford vehicles) and Quick Lane, the best place to have your vehicles serviced. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
Ava Pearlman, 8, Northport, N.Y.
This year 50 kids from around the country are competing to have their design on my car by raising funds online. You can vote now with your donations at: http://www.fordracecar.jdrf.org
They’ve already raised almost $8,000 in just a week!
These designs have a little bit of everything. You like ninjas? You can vote for the ninja car. There are designs with hearts, American flags, a racetrack, teddy bears and camouflage. Believe me – you will find a car you want to vote for.
Every dollar helps. Check back for updates… the lead is changing faster than the Friday night qualifying sheet.
We keep in touch with our contest winners. Libby’s one strong girl. Last fall I took the T14ADay challenge to see what Libby and other kids with T1D go through every day. It was tough. Every hour or so I got a text message to remind me what to do. One said I was hungry and wanted to eat an apple but before I could, I had to remember that every carb needs insulin, and I had to check my blood sugar levels to make sure I could without taking insulin.
I’d never personally experienced T1D and this gave me a whole new perspective on how much strength and control it takes to handle it.
For more information about T1D, check out www.JDRF.org. And don’t forget to vote!