Overlooked in the thrill of Bob Tasca III’s career-best 3.871 pass that put him on the Funny Car pole Friday night at Pacific Raceways was the speed, 330.63 mph, the veteran racer’s first 330-mph pass.
With the national record still at 339 mph by Robert Hight, who also holds top speed so far at this race at 331 mph, there was every reason for most people to overlook it, but not Tasca.
“I’ve been signing pistons for years with ‘330 mph,’ and I told my crew chiefs, ‘Listen you have to make this a reality for me.’ So that was nice to get that under our belts for Ford and Mustang.”
Tasca’s previous best speed was 328.22 mph, set last weekend in Sonoma, where he also set his career-best e.t. at 3.879, and both of these performances represent huge milestones for Tasca and his Motorcraft team as they gear up for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Tasca’s team has been enthused with energy and success since bringing Jon Schaffer and Mike Neff into the tuning fold to join Eric Lane beginning in Richmond. Three races later they were in the winner’s circle in Bristol and also won the next event in Norwalk. They kicked off the Western Swing with a runner-up in Denver and went to the second round in Sonoma to boost them to sixth place in the standings.
“We had a goal going into Richmond behind closed doors that we believed we could get into the top five,” he remembers. “If we worked hard and executed our plan with Mike and Eric and Schaffer working together we wanted to be there by Indy and catch our stride going into the Countdown. Well, we’re almost there.
"At this point of the season you’re battle-tested. Come the West Coast swing it’s all hands on deck, from the parts standpoint to hours on the road and working on these race cars. It’s a lot of hard work paying off. Everyone is doing their jobs, there’s no mistakes, and that’s what I preach.
“Coming into the Western Swing, the one tool we didn't have in our tool box was that 3.80 run -– we didn’t really have a chance in the summer because it was so hot -- and we got that it in Sonoma did it again here and got the 330. Those are the kind of runs you need in your pocket to make a big-time run at the championship when the conditions get a lot better at the end of the year.”
Even though their performance has improved and consistency -– they’re making it down the track on three of every four runs –- there’s still work to do.
“Behind closed doors here, there are a lot of areas that Mike and the guys want to improve on, but we’re certainly going in the right direction,” Tasca said. “I’m excited. I’m humble to be behind the wheel of this thing. This Mustang just keeps getting stronger and stronger.”