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!
The Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., had all the glitz of a major auto show.The Mack display was absolutely first-class. They asked me to come down and talk about our new partnership. I did a couple of Q&As with the crowd and couldn’t believe how many people who were in Gainesville, Fla. a few days earlier to watch us race!
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve been to quite a few car shows but never a heavy-duty truck show, so I didn’t know if it would be different or not.
It was awesome to see the NHRA presence there. Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang was on display in the Mack booth and we had our merchandise trailer out front, but there were probably four different Mello Yello Series Funny Cars there. Fans had a lot of interesting questions. I could tell that a lot of them really know their drag racing and follow our sport.
I saw the President of Mack again while I was at the show. It’s great to see the excitement Mack’s executives have being part of our racing program. They brought quite a few guests to the race in Gainesville for their first special hospitality program with us and will do that throughout the year.
If you’ve been by our pit, you’ve probably noticed lots of guests in our pit-side hospitality. My sponsors in Ford Customer Service Division have big events almost every weekend. I love that we can give our guests such a close-up experience in this sport.
Now I’m in Charlotte to take more promotional photos with all of our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mack trucks. I’ll have to post some photos on Facebook and Twitter.
We’re working really hard back at the shop to get ready for Las Vegas. We tested after Gainesville. We didn’t do as well as we hoped in Gainesville but we’d rather take our licks early in the season.
I’ve had some great races in Las Vegas. Last year we were the runners-up at this race. I hit the throttle on a Funny Car for the first time at The Strip at LVMS, so I’m ready to do it again next week. We have a car this year that is in the position to take advantage of a track like Las Vegas.
It also means we get to stay at Mandalay Bay. We’ve made quite a few friends there through the years. They take good care of us there.
It’ll be my home away from home next week!