Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Best friends to battle first round
”You know, we talked about it all winter,” said Tasca. “Tony is my best friend, and I’m very fortunate to have someone like that in my corner, giving me advice along with John Force. But to race against Tony, we kind of just laugh about it. We’re like, you’re like a brother to me, and I’m like a brother to you, but when that top bulb goes on, you go for the win.”
The two drivers, whose friendship goes back many years, will face each other in the first round of eliminations of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
“Everyone out here is tough, and truthfully, you race the track,” said Tasca. “Whoever is next to you, you can’t control that. The only thing that you can control is the tune-up that you put into your racecar to give you the best chance to get down that race track from A to B. It’s going to be fun. Whoever wins, it’s just gonna be a neat deal for him and I.”
Tasca earned the No. 12 qualifying position for the race after putting down four consistent qualifying runs in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Shelby Mustang.
“Four runs down the track for us, just helps build on that run data,” said Tasca. “Chris [Cunningham, crew chief] said to me, ‘We can go out and guess and try to run a 4.77 and put up a big number, or we can build this thing one run at a time.’
“I’m just real, real pleased with the progress that we’ve made and how consistent the car is running. I’ve always felt all along, that I just want to put our team in a position to win. That’s really what this team is all about and that’s where we’re at with the progress we’ve made, just give us a chance. To qualify for these races is a feat, and to get in and to make solid passes in the heat of the day, gives us confidence.”
Knowing that most qualifying times from Friday night’s qualifying session would stick through today, Tasca and the team used Saturday for data and testing, and ended up having two hitches come up in the first run of the day.
“We had two issues on our first run, it was kind of weird,” said Tasca. “At half-track, the braces in the side window came flying down, and I thought we had blown out the side window. And then after that happened, I pulled the chute and it actually broke one of the parachute cables. So I had both hands on the brake, and I was literally steering the car with my knees as I was holding the brake back just to get this thing stopped. The one thing that I’m still adjusting to as a rookie driver, is just how fast that sand trap comes up on you when the parachutes don’t come out. That was a pretty wild finish to that run.”
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