EPPING — Bob Tasca is coming home to New England Dragway.
The Rhode Island Funny Car driver returns to the track where he cut his teeth in racing, and he is bringing something with him that he has never brought here before: a two-race win streak.
Tasca came to New England Dragway after winning the last two Funny Car races in Norwalk, Ohio, and Bristol, Tennessee.
“Not many people win three in a row, so it would be special,” he said of the idea of winning this weekend. “Growing up in New England, I raced at this track. I have been coming here since I was 13. There are so many faces I recognize, people who have been rooting for me for years. You can feel the buzz around the track of the Ford fans and the New England Ford fans. It’s exciting to be able to do this.”
Tasca had a strong day of qualifying, ending Friday qualifying in the No. 4 spot. He will work Saturday to hold onto — or improve — that position heading into Sunday’s race.
He's not surprised with his team’s turnaround so far this season.
“We’ve struggled for a lot of years, but it wasn’t because we weren’t working hard,” said Tasca, who has eight career wins in a Funny Car. “We’re still working just as hard, so it’s nice to be getting results.”
Despite the run he has been on lately, Tasca has not fared particularly well in the Funny Car races at New England Dragway in the six years the New England Nationals have been run. He is hoping his seventh attempt will be a little different.
“This track has been really good to us, except in a Nitro Funny Car,” he said. “The good news is I’ve got a whole new team and the program is in a whole new zip code from where it was in the past. I’m not looking backward, I’m looking forward. It’s just a matter of going round by round and doing what we need to do.”
Tasca said he hopes to wind up qualified in the top half of the 15-car field after Saturday’s final qualifying to set the stage to keep his run going.
“We are constantly looking at ways to get better,” he added. “Don’t get me wrong, two wins in a row is better than two losses in a row, but the more we run the car the more areas we find where we can improve.”
With hot weather Friday and Saturday, and a drop in temperature expected Sunday, Tasca’s team will have to be at its best to make the proper adjustments.
“I’m very confident,” he said. “I’ve got to walk the line between confident and cocky. I’ve never had a better team than I do now, and I’m confident they will make the right adjustments.”