Those Tascas don't mess around.
Patriarch Bob Tasca Sr., who coined the phrase "Win on Sunday - Sell on Monday," knew that racing and business went hand in hand. No one knew better than the Rhode Island Ford dealer who parlayed his Providence showroom into a multi-medallion empire.
When drag-racing popularity was at a fever pitch in the 1960s, Tasca fielded one of the country's best Funny Car teams: driver Billy Lawton, crew chief John Healey, and local legends Bill Gilbert, Dean Gregson, John Pagano, and the matchless Ralph Poirier. They made the "Win on Sunday" part of the Tasca mantra easy.
But Tasca Sr. was having a difficult time making the "Sell on Monday" factor work. He simply didn't think Ford was giving customers a muscle car that would excite them. The decline in sales bruised his pride as much as his pocketbook. So he designed a version of the Mustang with a 428-cubic-inch Police Interceptor engine that would hold its own against the smokin' Chevys of the day.
Ford engineers in Detroit balked at Tasca's version. But market supremacy and millions of dollars were at stake, and Tasca knew he was right. So he went for the strength-in-numbers approach. He conducted a magazine poll that supported his theory, and the results of it landed on the desk of Henry Ford II. That gave birth to the Cobra Jet, the legendary Ford 428 CJ V-8.
Now, 40 years later, Tasca Sr.'s grandson, Bob III (called "The Third" by family members), has stepped up from the National Hot Rod Association's Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks to the 8,000-horsepower nitro-burners. And he means business, too.
Tasca III earned his Funny Car license January 31 in preseason testing at Firebird International Raceway, near Phoenix, less than a week before the season-opening Winternationals. With help from crew chiefs Mike Kloeber (who tuned Clay Millican to six International Hot Rod Association Top Fuel championships) and Chris Cunningham (who helped Del Worsham become a perennial NHRA title contender), Tasca will begin his Rookie-of-the-Year bid at Pomona's iconic Auto Club Raceway.