DSR Duo Leads Palm Beach Testing
JUPITER, Fla. — With dueling 3.77-second elapsed times, Don Schumacher Racing’s Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown captured the NHRA Top Fuel class honors Saturday night at the PRO Winter Warm-up test session at Palm Beach Int’l Raceway.
On the Funny Car side of this dress rehearsal for the Feb. 24-27 Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals that will launch the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season in California, Mike Neff led a strong John Force Racing trio.
Jack Beckman, Johnny Gray, Matt Hagan — all from Don Schumacher Racing — dipped into the 4.0-second range, as did Cruz Pedregon, and Bob Tasca III.
Neff, returning to the driver’s seat while Ashley Force Hood sits out the season awaiting the birth of her and husband Dan’s first child this summer, was proud of his tuning job but recognized his tough double-duty ask.
“We want to be consistent,” he said of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. “That 4.03(4) run felt good. It was the easiest run I have made so far. The other runs have been a bit of a handful. You are in that Mustang holding on.”
Teammate Robert Hight recorded an outstanding 4.055-second e.t. at 312.64 miles per hour early Saturday.
– Although the PRO Winter Warm-up featured most of the top NHRA teams, Palm Beach Int’l Raceway is an International Hot Rod Ass’n-sanctioned facility. Chris McMahan, the venue’s director of race operations said its owners are eying former NHRA-sanctioned property in the Midwest to complement its recent acquisition of Memphis Motorsports Park.
“The ownership is interested in purchasing Gateway right now,” he said, referring to Gateway Int’l Raceway at Madsion, Ill., just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. “The ownership is interested in buying multiple tracks but just one thing at a time. Memphis is the first piece to the puzzle.”
– Motorcraft/QuickLane Ford Mustang Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III might be a tough negotiator, but wife Therase might be tougher.
“I told my wife I was only going to sign a five-year deal with Ford and see how things go. Well, obviously I found what I truly love to do,” Tasca said. Then he signed a contract extension, and she called his hand on it.
“I guess I’m backpedaling on that promise,” he confessed to the mother of his three little boys. So she, who comes from a prominent Rhode Island hockey family, used the leverage to go on her own power play. She said, “Well, then I want to try one more time for a girl.”
She really didn’t have to twist his arm too hard.
“Deal!” he said he told her. “So that’s what I had to do to get my extension with Ford. My wife and I negotiated on another baby,” Tasca said. “Unfortunately she didn’t get her girl, but fortunately the Lord blessed us with a beautiful, healthy boy — Dylan Anthony — Dec. 7. “I’ve got a whole pit crew coming here in about 15-20 years from now,” Tasca joked, referring to sons Austin, Bob IV, Cameron, and now Dylan.