The Wood Bros. and Trevor Bayne in Charlotte
It used to be that when people asked us which race was busiest, the answer was easy – Indianapolis.
At Indy, you don’t get five free minutes at the track. There are so many interviews, meet-and-greets and autograph sessions (not to mention the rounds of racing!) that it really is a grind.
Now other races are starting to catch up, like the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
I like being busy. Having lots of things to concentrate on actually helps not get too keyed up about racing my Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang Funny Car. The days fly by!
Let me tell you…we were busy in Charlotte. Our new Motorcraft Marketing and Motorsports Manager came to see us and it was his first drag race, so we had a lot to show him. On Sunday, our sponsor teammate Trevor Bayne, Eddie and Len Wood from Wood Brothers Racing and Donnie Wingo, Trevor’s crew chief, came out to cheer for us.
You may have noticed that we in the Ford Funny Car camps are pretty close. We’ve all known each other for many years and respect each other. We call it “One Ford” and for us it really is. We may want to beat each other on the track, but at the end of the day we’re family. We have that same kind of bond with Trevor and Wood Brothers Racing through Motorcraft and Quick Lane Racing.
Trevor drove the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, then flew with the Woods overnight to see us in Charlotte. It’s always great to get the extra support at the track. Jack Roush, whose team won the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races in Texas, came out to zMAX Dragway too.
Last week the Ford Mustang turned 48. The Mustang is an iconic brand for Ford and a car that is especially important to me! I race one, after all.
My son Austin finally got the junior dragster he’s been asking for. Now both Bobby and Austin have one and they’re painted to look just like my Funny Car. It’s amazing how quick kids grow up. They were supposed to come down to Charlotte to attend Roy Hill’s Drag Racing School but an airplane malfunction canceled their flight. We couldn’t find another one. I assured them they will get another chance. They can’t wait!
We’re headed to NASA’s Johnson Space Center tomorrow with ESPN2before the race in Houston. I look forward to this every year and will have lots to ask about after “The Science of Drag Racing” event the staff at zMAX Dragway invited me to attend to promote their race. Talk about cool – I was able to talk with real physicists and retired astronaut Joan Higginbotham about how racing a Funny Car is like flying in a space shuttle. They really are very similar. My Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang still accelerates quicker, though.
I really have to hand it to the PR staff at zMAX Dragway. They come up with the most creative ideas to promote drag racing. The whole staff at zMAX does an incredible job. I was happy to be there.
The Providence Capitals, including Austin Tasca, and coaches. Back Row (Left to Right): Mike Moretti, Andy Guiliano and Head Coach Jerry Buckley. The Providence Capitals won the Eastern Hockey Federation championship.
Austin and the championship banner!
Crew chief Dickie Venables has joined the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team and will serve with Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner.
One of my coolest moments I’ve had as a dad was two weeks ago, watching my son Austin play in the Eastern Hockey Federation championship tournament. Remember that movie Miracle, the story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team’s win over Russia? Picture that, and that’s what this tournament was like to watch. Especially the semifinal game against the Minuteman Flames.
Austin, 7, and his team, the Providence Capitals, play some of the best teams in New England. As a dad, I do my best to encourage my sons and give them advice, but before the semis I really didn’t know what to say.
The Capitals’ nine-game winning streak paled in comparison to the Flames.’ They’d won 40 straight games and had a 4-0 record against my son’s team this year.
I try to be optimistic no matter what, but not too many people gave our team a chance. The stats just weren’t in our favor.
Then came our own little miracle.
This was a monumental game. When those kids hit the ice that night they truly believed they could win.
It didn’t matter that they were playing in the Flames’ house. Thanks to great coaching by Jerry Buckley, our own Herb Brooks, Austin and his teammates were ready to play and they showed it. Jerry’s an NHL agent for some of the big names in hockey whose sons play on the team too. We’re happy to have him as a coach, I can tell you that.
The Capitals won 5-4 and Austin pitched in with a few assists. Every kid on the team played tremendously and the parents on both sides went wild – on our side out of pure amazement and happiness for our kids.
They went on to face the Bay State Breakers in the finals and won 8-2 and even though it’s been a few weeks, Austin still sleeps with his championship plaque in his arms. I can’t blame him. I may do that with my next Wally!
Speaking of Wallys, we brought a new crew member on board on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team - crew chief Dickie Venables!
Not many people know this, but I’ve known Dickie for years. Since 1997, in fact. I met him when he was at John Force Racing and then when he tuned my best friend Tony Pedregon to his championships, as a co-crew chief and then as crew chief.
I’m really excited to have him on board with us. Dickie’s spent quite a bit of time with Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner at the shop in Charlotte, N.C. already and while we won’t make any major changes at the race in Las Vegas this weekend, we are looking forward to trying some new ideas out at testing after the event and after the 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
When you’re in my line of work, you never really know what people will ask you to do…like “play” with the Harlem Globetrotters, for instance.
A few weeks ago, the NHRA Media Relations team asked our PR reps if we would be in town early for the race in Gainesville and, if so, if we were interested in hanging out with the Globetrotters. Of course!
So on Wednesday, I’ll go straight from the airport to the University of Florida to meet the Globetrotters. This will definitely be one of the cooler things we’ve done this year. The next day we’ll go to Tampa/St. Petersburg to do some media. I’ve got to tell you – I’m really impressed with some of the opportunities they’re coming up with for us this year. The NHRA Media Relations team works hard.
I sure hope we have better weather in Gainesville than NASCAR had in Daytona a few weeks ago. The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team was there with Trevor Bayne trying to defend their title and it seemed like they would never get to race. A Ford won with Matt Kenseth. Not our team, but still brought it back to Ford and that’s important for all of us.
After Phoenix, my family and I went to the Grand Canyon. It looked like a shorter drive on the map than it was in reality, but I saw the Grand Canyon as a kid and I wanted my boys to see it too. If you’ve never seen it in person, it’s difficult to really understand how massive the Grand Canyon really is. We did something really cool – we went on a helicopter ride that took us down into the Canyon.
This helicopter ride was just incredible. Even my son Austin was speechless. Out of my four boys, Austin is the one who never stops talking. Halfway through the ride I realized I hadn’t heard a word out of him and I asked him if he was still there over the headsets they gave all of us. He was there, all right. And speechless. I’m not sure he’ll be getting on any more helicopters anytime soon. I told him he should probably stick to racing his junior dragster.
We stayed at a hotel not far from there that had a bowling alley in it. That was my turn to be humble. I think a few of my sons beat me at bowling. My whole family is pretty competitive. Even my parents. We play games on our phones like Words With Friends and no one ever wants to lose. I think if I have to go bowling again I may go practice beforehand!
Back at home, we finished our first full month of sales with the new Truck Center we opened at Tasca Ford in January. We’ve had a busy few years at the dealership – busy in a good way!
It’s almost time to pack for Florida and I have plenty on the “to-do” list before I leave.
I am happy to report Santa came to Rhode Island for Christmas. It’s been a busy few months for my family and I but like Thanksgiving break, the Christmas and New Year holidays are saved just for family time.
You may know my wife Terri and I have been blessed with four sons. Well, except for the little one, Dylan, who’s a little bit too young to have a Wish List, the other three knew what they wanted to ask Santa for this year. The kids don’t go overboard, but between them they did have a few requests – an iPod, goalie pads, and a remote control car.
I’m happy to report they must have been good, because Santa brought them what they asked for.
This year, three of my sons, Bob IV, Austin and Cameron are playing hockey. Bob IV and Austin are on elite teams, so they travel quite a bit.
Now, it’s amazing to me that my sons like to skate. I didn’t put on skates until Bob IV was five and wanted to go. Bob IV was skating around like a pro in no time, but me? I found out fast that when they fall, they have a shorter distance to fall than me. Ice + skates + Me is a bad combination.
I am proud of my sons, though. They had a break from practice and competition during the holidays, but they were back at practice on Monday. The tournaments and playoffs are coming up. We’re just at the halfway point of the season. It’s amazing to watch my kids’ progress from where they started at age four or five to where they are now.
I swore Dylan would maybe have a golf club or a tennis racket in his hand as soon as he was old enough, but he runs around with a hockey stick in his hands, so I think we’re doomed.
It’s great to see the competitive drive they have develop at such a young age. It reminds me a lot of what you have to handle in NHRA Full Throttle Series Drag Racing, though – when they win they feel great, and when they lose they have to handle that, too. It is different for them. At their ages, when they lose they feel bad for about 10 minutes, then they’re out playing again.
Come to think of it, maybe I can relate to that, too.
Speaking of feeling great – big news to announce at our Ford store this month.
We opened a brand new, state-of-the-art Truck Center and show room, dedicated to my grandfather Bob Tasca Sr.
When customers come to check out our new Ford trucks or have theirs serviced in our Quick Lane, they can see the 150 photos of my grandfather from the 1960s we put up in a visual history along the walls.
It’s very cool to see photos of him with Mario Andretti, Carroll Shelby and other people who were or have been key figures in the American motorsports scene. Next to our new trucks, we have one of our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Cars, a Factory Five hot rod and a Cobra Jet Mustang. Can you imagine going into your dealership for a part or an oil change and seeing those? Our customers won’t be bored, that’s for sure!
We had a great sales year at Tasca Ford. As a dealer, we’ve never been as confident in Ford Motor Company as we are right now. Ford’s strength in cars especially last year with the Fiesta and Focus has been just incredible, and we have plenty more coming out in 2012 to celebrate. Ford and Lincoln have a lot to be proud of – and that’s good for us, and for the U.S. economy.
We’ll be in Florida Jan. 20-21 for the PRO Winter Warm-up. If you can make it, we’ll see you there! We’ll have our 2012 Shelby body out along with the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang we competed in in 2011. Until then, we’ll count down the days until we’re back at the track.