Firebird International Raceway holds special meaning Bob Tasca III, since he earned his NHRA Funny Car competition license at the Phoenix track just three weeks before the start of the 2008 season. With limits on testing and little experience, Tasca was eagerly anticipating the annual stop at Phoenix as a race where he would be able to capitalize on data and first-hand experience. All that went awry as Tasca was unable to qualify his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car during the 2008 Funny Car qualifying competition.

Fast-forward one year. Tasca comes to Phoenix with a full season under his belt; a technical alliance with Tim Wilkerson, who was the top qualifier one year ago; 24 test runs during the offseason, a third of which were logged at Firebird; and a strong season-opening showing at Pomona. Phoenix is a race that has been circled on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane calendar for several months.

“I’m looking to conquer Phoenix. Last year it was one of only two races [Richmond] that we didn’t qualify at, but this year I have a whole different attitude. The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has a lot more runs under our belts in testing; we had some great runs in Phoenix getting ready for Pomona,” said Tasca. “This year it’s a whole different deal, we have a lot of data on Phoenix, so out of the gate we’re a lot more confident. We have the partnership with Tim Wilkerson, who ran great in Phoenix last year, and will share information this weekend. So I think our whole perspective on racing is different.”

Despite having increased experience, Tasca understands the unique characteristics of the Firebird race track.

“Phoenix is known for tire shake. It’s one of those tracks that’s really funny because some of the quickest runs in history have been put down in Phoenix, but it’s also a track during testing, where I think it took 85 percent of the field three days before they could make a full pass.”

Full Throttle Points Standings – Funny Car
1. Ron Capps, 111; 2. Jim Head, 92; 3. Robert Hight, 78; 4. Gary Densham, 73; 5. Del Worsham, 57; 6. Ashley Force Hood, 56; 7. Bob Tasca III, 54; 8. Jack Beckman, 53; 9. John Force, 35; 10. Tony Pedregon, 34. 11. Mike Neff, 32 ; 17, Tim Wilkerson, 10

Phoenix Race Notes:
– In the off-season, Tasca tested at three different tracks: Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Phoenix. Of the 24 test runs, Tasca made eight runs at Phoenix.
– Firebird International Raceway is the track where Tasca earned his license on Jan. 31, 2008.
– Tasca formed a technical alliance with Tim Wilkerson for the 2009 season. Wilkerson was the No. 1 Phoenix qualifier in 2008 (4.775 seconds at 327.03 mph).
– Tasca’s fifth place qualifying effort at Pomona marks the fourth time he has claimed a top-five spot in qualifying. This first round win marked the eighth time he had advanced past the opening round in the Nitro Ladder.

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