Gainesville, FL., March 15, 2009 - The fastest driver on Friday morning was the last driver standing on Sunday in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Series Funny Car class. In his first Funny Car finals, Bob Tasca III in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang won Sunday's 40th Annual Gatornationals.
"I'm speechless," said Tasca. "We qualified our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang No. 1, and we beat Tim Wilkerson, John Force and Tony Pedregon to get the first win. This is just a real tribute to the whole Motorcraft/Quick Lane program. To bring the first win home for Ford this year in the NHRA Funny Car class is really special. It's a dream come true for me."
On Sunday afternoon, Tasca went round for round with some of the series best en route to his first career win. In the first round won, Tasca defeated Jim Head. During the second round, he defeated teammate Tim Wilkerson. Tasca faced his mentor John Force in the third round. In the finals, Tasca defeated friend Tony Pedregon.
"John Force. What can you say? He's the man. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for John Force. Tony Pedregon is my best friend. Tim Wilkerson coming on board and working with us," said Tasca. "It is pretty special to beat those guys and walk away with your first Wally [trophy] and we are leaving here second in the points. That isn't too shabby."
It was 27 months since Bob Tasca hired Chris Cunningham as his crew chief. The two went to work and 27 races later, they celebrate victory.
"It all started out with a phone call to Chris Cunningham where I tried to convince him to come work with a guy that had no employees, no parts and it was less than two months from Pomona . I said, 'Chris, trust me. We'll be great together.' He's done a remarkable job with what he's done and handpicked the guys around us. I said to him from day one, 'Chris, I just want to be in a position to win. I'll give you all the resources that you need to give me a great race car.' It started in the spring at Pomona last year and we had our struggles in the first year," recalled Tasca.
"Our  season started the day after the fall at Pomona," continued Tasca. "We went to Las Vegas and ran the wheels off this hot rod, then we went to Palm Beach, then we went to Phoenix. We put a quarter-season on this Shelby Mustang before we even rolled into Pomona for the season opener. We're just determined. You just get a sense when you talk to us that we're determined to win. I can assure you if we have anything to do about, this isn't our last trophy. We have a top caliber program right now."
Tasca is fond of the Florida track, "It's real exciting. That right lane has been awfully good to me; I might even kiss it before I leave. I set the world record in Alcohol Funny Car and won my first race in that lane. To win today, in that lane, was a pretty special day for me."
Later in the week, Tasca returns Tasca Ford dealership in Rhode Island. "My grandfather's saying back in the 60s was 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.' The dynamic has certainly changed. Heck, they used to win with the cars you could buy in the showroom and today that's not the case. At the end of the day 'Win on Sunday and sell on Monday' is what this program is all about. We have just as much emphasis with the off-track initiatives with Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford as we do on the track."
Full Throttle Standings - Funny Car
1. Ron Capps, 263; 2. Bob Tasca III, 225; 3. Del Worsham 188; 4. Robert Hight, 164; 5. Mike Neff, 163; 6. Tony Pedregon, 160; 7. Matt Hagan, 157; 8. Jim Head, 155; 9. John Force, 146; 10. Ashley Force Hood, 145; 12. Tim Wilkerson, 134.