Bob Tasca III waited seven years between Funny Car wins but after breaking back into the win column a week ago in Bristol, Tasca only had to wait seven days to raise another Wally as he defeated Jack Beckman in the final round.
Beckman smoked the tires early and Tasca late, but by then the red and white Motrocraft Ford had built up all the momentum it needed to carry his to his sixth nitro Funny car win and eighth overall.
Tasca, hot off of four round wins that earned him his first Wally in seven years last weekend in Bristol, ran nothing but three-second passes in qualifying and started raceday from the No. 6 spot against former world champ Matt Hagan.
Tasca and crew chiefs Eric Lane and Jon Schaffer and team consultant Mike Neff dialed up another three, a 3.957, in round one to knock out Hagan and followed with their sixth straight three in a 3.99 defeat of Paul Lee in round two.
Tasca’s semifinal battle pitted him against longtime friend and rival John Force, whom Tasca had defeated to win the Bristol title to deny Force what would have been his milestone 150th career win. Tasca played spoiler again in Norwalk, blasting off to yet another three, a 3.98, to defeat Force’s 4.05.
Beckman qualified a solid fourth on the strength of a 3.915, the second of three three-second passes in qualifying. He opened eliminations with a 3.95 to defeat Jonnie Lindberg and a solid 4.01 in the heat of the day in round two to get past Shawn Langdon’s Toyota.
Beckman needed to call in his driving skills in the semifinals, where he car lost traction downtrack. His opponent, Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., had also lost traction but earlier in the race. T.J. had already pedaled and set off in pursuit of Beckman, who also got his mount settled down and got to the win stripe first with a 4.98 that cost him final-round lance choice.
FUNNY CAR WINNER BOB TASCA III: “I’ve worked a lot of years to get to this place and there were days I never thought I’d get back there. This sport can take everything from you, it can tear your heart out. I never gave up and I thank the people who never gave up on me, none more important than the Ford Motor Company. They came back and I just dreamed of being able to give them a hot rod like we have. When you have the names of Neff and Schaffer and Lane up in that trailer and the guys who bolt it together, I always knew if I could get the right car under me we could do great things.
“I woke up this morning and was confident as I can be – not cocky, I always say that – but when you make four runs in the threes in very challenging conditions there was no reason we couldn’t win this race. I’m glad we got it done.”