Bob Tasca III won for the first time since 2012 with a 4.008-second pass at 316.23-mph at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The victory kept John Force, his former teammate, from winning his 150th Funny Car Wally.
Tasca returned to full-time competition in 2018 with backing from Ford and, with Ford Motorcraft on the side of his car, took his Mustang to the winner’s circle. Force encountered problems as soon as he began the burnout procedure in his PEAK Performance Chevy Camaro.
"This was a hard Ford effort," said Tasca. "All weekend long my crew chiefs were talking about lane choice and maybe it got in my head a little bit too much at times. I really wanted to go in shallow and get our team lane choice and put us in a good position all weekend.
"I knew it was going to be a slugfest against Force, I thought he was trying to run me out of Nitro up there or something but I guess he was having problems up there. I love racing him. That was one of the biggest career wins for me simply because Ford came back to NHRA. I told them when I came back that I was going to win and I'm going to give you a car that runs for a championship."
First, Force was unable to put his Funny Car into reverse. Then, he struggled to get the car out of reverse in time to stage his car. Tasca’s team was patient but eventually threw the car into the stage beams. Force went in deep and knocked out the top bulb, just like he did in the semifinals. Tasca had the better reaction time and never trailed against the 16-time Funny Car champion.
Tasca beat Ron Capps, Robert Hight and Jim Campbell to get to the winner’s circle. This is his second final round since returning to full-time competition in 2018; both occurred at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. There has been plenty of upheaval with the Ford Motorcraft team since then, including the hiring and firing of Mike Green. Tasca brought Jon Schaeffer on board entering the NHRA Virginia Nationals and felt a win was close.
He proved to be correct. Tasca beat three former world champions to earn the seventh Wally of his career and fifth nitro Wally. He also has two Top Alcohol Funny Car Wallys.
This was the first final round of the season for Force, who had reached six semifinals prior to the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. His next chance at capturing his 150th win will be at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk in under a week.