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DETROIT -- Bob Tasca III, driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car, carries the Ford brand wherever he goes. Whether it’s out on the race track, or at his family’s Ford dealership in Rhode Island, Tasca is the definitely an ‘all-Ford’ guy. This week, during the Ford Dealer Show on Belle Isle in Detroit, Tasca took some time to answer a few questions submitted by Ford employees.
Click here to watch Bob Tasca III respond to some of your questions and read below to see how he responded to the rest of the questions submitted!
Q. Is drag racing still 'relevant'? And by that I mean: What are we learning…via the sport? And how does that apply to what we drive every day?
A. I think relevant is a two-pronged approach. First is win on Sunday, second is sell on Monday. At the end of the day, racing as a whole, we have to be able to answer both questions. One we have to win, and two we have to leverage those wins into selling products and driving consumer interest in our brands and be very proud of how we have established truly a marketing platform to leverage our sport. With drag racing, it’s a two-pronged approach; we have drag racing fans and drag racers. Over 80,000-licensed NHRA racers race our products, buy our products, tow their trailers with our products. Yes, drag racing in my opinion has never been more relevant, particularly in times when money is tight and people are voting with their pocketbooks and they’re looking for value in entertainment. We have positioned ourselves to offer great entertainment, a great platform that we’ve leveraged with the official car and the official truck, and when you look at what we’ve done on the race track, the aerodynamic advancements that we’ve learned, chassis engineering and developments that we’ve learned, a lot of that stuff is applied back into the vehicles that you see in the garage.
Q. I really enjoyed watching the Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte earlier this spring - I can't even imagine how loud it was. What did you guys think of it, and are you glad they will be doing it again next year?
A. First off, we race for the fans, not for NHRA or the track owners. We race for the fans. My position has always been if the fans like it, I’ll go eight-wide, because at the end of the day they’re the reasons why we’re there. As a racer, a purist, which I think I am, I did not care for it as a racer. I thought it took away from the integrity of the sport. I thought it was a little confusing, hard to keep track because our races are only four seconds long, so I think there were challenges with it. Do I think we can improve the format? Absolutely. I’m looking forward to going back to it next year because we are going to make some changes to the starting line tree. We’re going to make some changes from a safety standpoint. We’re also going to have some education for the fans so they understand who advances and why two cars in each segment advances because there was some confusion. Ultimately we’re going to throw it back to the fans and have an exit poll that says ‘hey, did you like it?’ If the answer is yes than hey, we’ll keep doing it. If the answer is no, than we want to listen to the fans, no different than when Ford listens to their customers.
Q. My question is "what is the most exciting and memorable win for you? And why?
A. There are two. One was in my alcohol funny car in Englishtown. For me, that proved to Ford Motor Company, it proved to my family, it proved to me that we could win. Coming up in this sport and having aspirations to drive a fuel car, you just can’t get a sponsor because your last name is Tasca. You have to prove why someone should invest in you in both how you drive the race car, because you can’t fake that, and how you present yourself to the sponsors on camera. That was probably one of the most memorable moments of my life to have my family there and my grandfather there. Then the other is in Gainesville, Florida. A second-year team starting from nothing wins one of the biggest races of the year on one of the biggest stages of the year. They were both amazing moments in my life. Again, I’m just blessed to have amazing sponsors with Motorcraft and Quick Lane that have put me and my team in a position to win, and win is exactly what we did.
Q. Have you had a chance to drive any of the new Ford products here today? If not have you seen anything that interests you?
A. Fortunately, being a dealer coming up in this business through my family’s business, I’ve been on the product committee for Ford so I’ve had an opportunity to drive just about everything coming in the future. I can tell you that the best is yet to come from Ford Motor Company. We have exceptional products and exceptional quality products out on the road today. What’s coming down the pipeline, as a racer, as a dealer, as a fan and a customer of Ford products, I can’t wait for the stuff that’s coming. I’m thoroughly impressed with the products. I’m thoroughly impressed with the focus that the company has on its products. It really is an exciting time for Ford.