NITRO FUNNY CAR VETERAN BOB TASCA III WANTS TO TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP STEP IN 2022
Nitro Funny Car driver/team owner Bob Tasca III had a memorable 2021 NHRA Camping World Series Drag Racing season.
He finished third in the point standings, highlighted by three wins in Las Vegas, Atlanta and the season finale in Pomona, Calif. Tasca also had impressive 32-17 elimination-round record.
Despite his accomplishments, Tasca isn’t patting himself on the back because he knows there’s more goals for his team to reach.
“We want to pick up exactly where we left off in 2021, going back to Pomona (Calif., Feb. 17-20) and leaving there with a ‘W,” Tasca said. “We had some really good momentum towards the end of the Countdown. We kind of got lost there early in the Countdown and truthfully, we just had some parts issues with some clutch discs that we struggled to get. I actually probably went a little overboard as I bought all my entire inventory for the entire year (2022) in the month of December.
“Other than a handful of parts I don’t need anything for the entire season. I just didn’t want to be in a position with the crazy world we are in right now and parts shortages and having to compromise. Fortunately, with the sponsors we have we’re in a place where we could really get ahead of the parts issue.”
When Tasca III arrives in Pomona next month he will do so with his same crew.
“I have all my key guys back,” Tasca said. “(Co-crew chiefs) Mike Neff and Jon Schaffer are leading the team and we have very high expectations. The good news is that we had a great 2021 and the challenge is we just raised the bar. We have to go there in 2022 get off to a fast start like we did in 2021 and carry it through the season and put ourself in a position to run for the championship. We were probably one or two races away from winning the championship and that’s just the way it fell for ’21, but I know it makes me even more hungry to go out there and show them what we can do in 2022.”
Tasca said his march to a 2022 world championship starts with a test session the second week in February at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix.
“We have a very robust test session set up for Phoenix and then on to Pomona,” Tasca said. “We will be in Phoenix that Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I think we would be happy with three (runs) Thursday and then we are going to shoot for four runs on Friday and Saturday.”
After finishing fifth in the 2020 season standings in a 10-race schedule abbreviated by COVID-19 limitations and third a year ago, Tasca is upbeat about 2022.
“I always believed we could be in the position we are in, but you have to go do it,” Tasca said. “I think what was very satisfying about last year is we did it in arguably the most competitive Funny Car class of all time. When you look at that class and the depth and the talent and the number of full season cars and then you look at this year coming right back at it, it is pretty rewarding. I think I had as many wins as anyone in the circuit with three and I made it to five final rounds, which was one of the tops in the class as well.
“To perform at that level with the level of competition, and the number of cars it was a great job. But you know something the goal is the championship. As good as we did the mission was not accomplished. We are working real hard this offseason and we are going into ’22 and starting from zero and seeing what we can do.”
In the past Tasca was always fighting against powerhouse teams like Don Schumacher Racing.
That will not be the case in 2022.
DSR doesn’t have any nitro Funny Cars in its stable as reigning world champ Ron Capps departed DSR and is now running his own team and Matt Hagan of DSR, who finished second last season, is part of the newly formed Tony Stewart Racing outfit.
“You know something as they say in life everything comes full circle,” Tasca said. “In the Funny Car class, other than John (Force), certainly his team is at the top of the page year-in and year-out, the single-car team has really come back, and I think it is great. I think it great for parity and I think it is great for competition. There’s no question you’re at a disadvantage when you are going against a team that has four Funny Cars and you know all the games that can be played with that, we saw it in Pro Stock. This is a new kind of playing field, but it does not take away the level of competition across teams. I think in some respects it actually increases the difficulty because now everyone is on the same playing field versus some teams being able to run away with it. It is exciting.
“I’m excited for Capps and Tony Stewart and Antron (Brown) who is a good friend of mine. I’ve talked to them about this big move and the anxiety and nervousness they had but just the spirit and excitement in their voices to go out and do it is great. We will be there to help those guys if they have any questions, but I think they are going to do great as team owners.”
Tasca still likes his team’s chances best.
“This to me is not for fun,” he said. “The only reason why I’m racing is to go out there and win and compete for a championship, period. I can tell you this don’t bet against this Motorcraft team. We have all the parts and pieces and talent and clearly, I have a lot of laps in the car. I have pretty much seen it all and that’s what it takes to go out there and win a championship and we are going to do everything we can to do that.”