When talking to nitro Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III is not hard to hear the excitement in his voice.
And for good reason.
Tasca after having a solid 2018 campaign in NHRA’s Mello Yello Series, he can’t wait to compete in 2019 with his team’s newly-designed 2019 Ford Mustang body.
“We will get the first body to mount, mid to late November,” Tasca said. “NHRA will do the final approval mid-December and then we will get the second one (body) in early December and we have to have both mounted going into Las Vegas to test before the Winternationals (Feb. 7-10 in Pomona, Calif.).”
Tasca said this is the first time in around 10 years that Ford has done a new NHRA Funny Car body.
“I think the body we are running is a 2008 or 2009, I don’t know off the top of my head, but this is a quantum leap from what we have and you take some of the races I’ve lost this year, particularly last weekend (in Las Vegas), that new body wins the race,” Tasca said. “This sport now has come down to hundredths if now thousandths, I lost by two thousandths (Oct. 28) Sunday and you can not give up an aero advantage, particularly to the Dodge and Chevy and expect to win those tight races. The competition is too tight. We knew that going into this season. Ford took their time, they spent the entire 2018 year with the team that designed the GT Supercar and they are going to come up with a design that felt was going to be best in class and they called it the slipperiest Mustang to ever go down a dragstrip and I truly feel they have achieved that.”
On Oct. 28, Tasca lost in the semifinals to Matt Hagan at the Toyota Nationals. Tasca clocked a 3.952-second run at 319.29 mph, while Hagan came across the finish line first at 3.928-seconds at 323.89.
Tasca enters the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Nov. 8-11, 11th in the points standings. In the last four events, he has come on strong highlighted by semifinal performances in Dallas and in Las Vegas. He also qualified second at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, fifth in St. Louis, second in Dallas and fourth in Las Vegas.
“The body we are running now is the body we ran with Force back in 2014,” Tasca said. “It was my old bodies I had, and I saved them and fortunately I had enough to carry me through. Now we have a brand-new body and our car has been very competitive the last five or six races and our car is in a great place right now and once we switched over to the five-disc (clutch). I feel good about where we are, and I feel good about (crew chief) Eric Lane. Now you add the new body to the whole conversation and we are in a great place going into next year.”
Tasca is once again going to race full-time in 2019. Tasca competed on a limited basis the last several years before going full-time in 2018.
Tasca’s race scheduled has been limited because Ford Motor Company officially pulled out of the NHRA when it ended its factory support after the 2014 season.
“We are in a great place and I’m really excited to roll out that new body next year,” Tasca said. “I fought really hard to get the (Ford) program back and fortunately there was a lot of great things going on with the sport with attendance and TV and the competitiveness of racing. I wish I had the (new) body at the beginning of the (the 2018 season) but the truth is being out of the sport for three years and having to start from scratch it took us some time to build a team and the people. So, now to have the momentum and see what we have done over the last five races and how competitively the car has run, then to have that plus a new body going into 2019, that puts our name in the hat to have a legitimate run at the championship and that’s the only reason why I’m back.”
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Tasca said he will run his car at the 2019 Winternationals with the new body, and he’s especially anxious to makes some test laps at The Strip in Las Vegas prior to the season opener.
“You never know until you run it,” Tasca said. “We are going to bring the current body with us and the first run we will baseline run with what we have now and then we will put the new body on it and run it and we want to really see the difference. I’m thrilled and excited to do it because when you take the Ford engineering team and the energy and resources they put behind designing this body from shape to structure, front, rear downforce and balance you really peel the onion back with the time and engineering that’s involved with coming out with an all new body. Then to get in it and let all these people see their efforts come to life, it is a cool thing. I never done this in my career John (Force) always designed the bodies with Ford, so this is the first time that our team worked directly with Ford and their engineers to design this body. It is extra special for me because this is something our team, Tasca Racing worked together with Ford performance to come up with and design. There was a lot of thought put in and attention to detail. When it hits the race track, it is going to be cool moment. Wait to you see it in person, it looks like a Mustang. It smells like a Mustang and I think that’s another part we wanted to achieve you didn’t want to go so far over center that we lost what a Mustang looks like. It really is the full package and I’m looking forward to all the Ford fans out there having someone to cheer for in all-new Mustang.”
Tasca said he will not be the only NHRA nitro Funny Car driver campaigning the new 2019 Ford Mustang body next season.
“I worked with Ford and I was able to get Tim (Wilkerson) two bodies for next year,” Tasca said. “The reason why Tim is in a Ford is because of me something I did back in the first part of my career I just wanted to not be a single-car team, we wanted to work together with someone, so Tim and I came together and I got him bodies as part of our deal and that was something that has continued so when the new body came out Ford came to me and said ‘What do you think about Tim?’ I love the guy. He stayed in a Ford when Ford pulled out and Ford is going to provide him two bodies for the 2019 season. We hope to get Tim one for Pomona (the Winternationals), so we are working hard to make sure he gets one. If he doesn’t have one for (the Winternationals) he will get one shortly after. I will get four new bodies because I’m out of bodies. Tim has a good supply of the old bodies, so I think he’s going to work through both of them.”