Video: NHRA driver Bob Tasca’s Mustang blows up, he still finishes first

Bob Tasca III’s Motorcraft /Quick Lane Ford Mustang crew essentially rebuilt his Funny Car between the final two qualifying sessions Saturday for the NHRA Magic Dry Organic Absorbent Northwest Nationals – and he took to the track again less than an hour later to claim the No. 1 starting position for Sunday eliminations.

The team didn’t do it for practice. The engine dynamited on the early Saturday run because of what he called “a catastrophic valvetrain failure.”

Immediately after the incident, which did not injure Tasca, he joked, “We want to put on a show for these fans, give them a little excitement.

“Last night we did it by going quicker and faster than anyone out here. But today . . . unfortunately, that’s nitro racing,” he said.

He said his car was on a strong run until it smoked the tires “and immediately blew up. A firewall came up in front of my face. I’ve never not been able to see in one of these cars. I looked out the side window. That’s what they make them for, right? I needed to find a reference point. When you’re disoriented at that speed, you can get in trouble real quick.” He said once he looked out the side window and saw the wall and realized he still was in his own lane, he was relieved.”

But, he said gamely, “We’ve got plenty of Mustang bodies back in the trailer. I’m fine. It was just difficult to see. You don’t ever want to go in the other lane and affect that other driver. Fortunately, we got to a stop. Everything did what it was supposed to do.

“So the boys back in that Motorcraft camp . . . we have plenty of parts and pieces. We’ll have a car ready to go here shortly,” Tasca said.  

They did, and after retaining his No. 1 qualifying position from Friday, Tasca said his pit between the third and fourth sessions “was madness. We had to switch engine. We had to roll up on the chassis. We had to switch bodies. We had to assess what failed. Clearly, it’s not what you to have to do in the middle of a race, rebuild the whole car,” Tasca said, “but these guys are battle-tested.”

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