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ENGLISHTOWN -- This weekend, the familiar red-and-white Motorcraft/Quick Lane paint scheme on the Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car of Bob Tasca III will be replaced with Ford Blue as part of the public launch of FordParts.com. For Tasca, new sponsor colors aren’t the only thing significant this weekend as he heads home to Englishtown to a track rich with his family’s history.
Q. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING OUT AT ENGLISHSTOWN AND THE RICH TRADITION THAT DRAG RACING HAS IN THAT PART OF THE COUNTRY?
A. Englishtown holds a special place in my heart for so many reasons. First, it was the first track that I went to see a national event, and I can almost take you back to the spot where I sat when I first saw Bob Glidden race. I met him and what an impression that he made on me. I’ll never forget being in the autograph line waiting my turn to get Bob’s autograph and I introduced myself and he almost came off his chair. He said ‘Tasca? Are you Bob Tasca, Sr.’s grandson?’ and I said ‘yes sir’. I remember him taking me through his pit and through his trailer and I think that was probably one of the moments that made me want to race. I kept going back there and met John Force. It was really the place that was the birth spot for drag racing for me. It holds so many special memories. I got my Pro Stock license there with Roy Hill, left lane 170 mph, .704 in one of those mountain motor Pro Stocks. I got my first win there in an Alcohol Funny Car. That was a pretty amazing moment. That was when Ford was deciding whether or not they were going to sponsor me. We went into the sand on Saturday morning and had to be ready for a Saturday night first round which we won and ultimately went on to win the race.
Q. THIS WEEKEND YOU ARE ALSO DEBUTING A NEW PAINT SCHEME ON YOUR FORD SHELBY MUSTANG.
A. This weekend will also be the first time that I will ever be in a race car that doesn’t have Motorcraft/Quick Lane on the side of it. FordParts.com is a Ford brand. It’s designed for people to buy parts from the convenience of their home and shop for Motorcraft parts in their pajamas. It’s a pretty cool initiative. The website is the place where it’s going to be for the future. It’s a new way of doing business and it’s the first time it will be on a Funny Car as a major sponsor. I’m excited about it. I’ve always wanted to drive a white and blue car. It’s one of my favorite combinations. I ran it one time with my AAA alcohol car. I think the combination is just dynamite. Hopefully we can do it justice and put it in the winner’s circle.
Q. THAT’S GOING TO BE THE SECOND RACE YOU’RE GOING TO BE IN DURING A FOUR-RACE STRETCH. IS THAT TAXING ON THE DRIVER, OR THE TEAM? WHO FEELS IT MORE?
A. I call it a seven-race stretch because you really have a short off week and then you have to be in Seattle. As a driver, I love it, because I just think the more seat time you get … and I’m as close to a rookie as anybody out here … it’s better. You get in a rhythm, you get to hear the car, you get to feel the car, so as a driver I love it. As a crew, it takes an amazing toll, on parts, and on hours worked. It’s just one of those things where it crystallizes, and in my opinion you have to love this sport to even think about getting involved with it as a driver, and a crew member for sure, because you can’t pay someone for the amount of hours that go into this program. So it really is a tribute to all of the teams out here, to start out here in Chicago and go on these four straight, have a very brief week off because you’ve got to be out in Seattle the following week for the West Coast swing. You’ve got to dig down a little deeper.